Richard Berry 1952 All-American, 1952 NCAA Runner-up in individual epee, two-time Big Ten Champion (1952 epee/1953 foil), 1959 PanAm Games, 2-time US National Epee champion 1957 & 1958
VIDEO: Dick Berry interviewed by Andy Shaw
Hometown – Highland Park, MI
Hall of Fame Class – 2000
• 1952 All-American
• 1952 NCAA runner-up in individual epee
• Two-time Big Ten Champion (1952 Epee/1953 Foil)
• 1959 Pan American Games
2-time US National Epee champion 1957 & 1958
Dick Berry in 1949 with his team mates
Below, Dick Berry (2nd from right) with the Highland Park Jr. College Fencing Team
The 63 Year Fencing History Of Richard Berry
I could not imagine in 1948, at age 16,how much my life would change when I followed a cute blonde into an after school fencing class at Highland Park High School in Highland Park, Michigan. The coach was Dick Perry, who would become my coach, my mentor, my life long friend and best man at my wedding. He introduced me into the world of fencing which changed my life. Dick was my coach in high school and also for two years at Highland Park Junior College. In 1951, I enrolled at Michigan State University where under the coaching of Charles Schmitter, won Big Ten Fencing Championships in 1952 and’53 ,became an NCAA All – American and was voted “The Outstanding College Fencer of 1952”. While competing in the Amateur Fencers League of America, (the previous name of the U.S.F.A.), I qualified into the final pool for the National Epee Championships seven years in a row from 1953 thru 1959. This was before direct elimination. I tied for first three times, winning the Championship twice in 1957 and ’58. During this time I was honored to represent the U.S. in two World Championships, Rome in 1955 and Philadelphia in 1958. While an officer in the U.S. Navy, I was selected to fence in the World Military Fencing Championships in Cairo, Egypt in 1956 and finished 3rd. I was an alternate for the 1956 Olympic Epee Team and a member of the Gold Medal Epee Team in the 1959 Pan American Games in Chicago. I had to stop serious competing in 1960 because of family business obligations, but continued my involvement in fencing by being a 30 year volunteer assistant to Dick Perry, who had become the fencing coach at the University of Detroit.I moved to California in 1994 and helped start and coach the University of California Davis Fencing Club. After 7 years there I became a volunteer at the Davis Fencing academy in Davis, CA., where my student and friend, Simon Pitfield has established a thriving club.To continue the tradition that started with Dick Perry, I was also best man at Simon’s wedding. Now, a word about the cute blonde; she chose another and so did I.
Photo below: Dick Berry (standing on right) with his coach Dick Perry and Mrs. Perry and his 9th grade Biology teacher.