ALLOUEZ — Fr. Harold “Harry” Berryman, 88, a priest for the Diocese of Green Bay for more than 62 years, died Jan. 22. Fr. Berryman, a Michigan native, first considered the priesthood as an altar server and member of the boys’ choir at St. Francis School in Grand Rapids.
He attended St. Joseph Seminary in Grand Rapids for high school and one year of college before making his way to Wisconsin. A parish priest referred him to the Society of the Divine Savior Seminary in St. Nazianz. He continued his formation and education at St. Francis de Sales Seminary near Milwaukee.
Fr. Berryman was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Green Bay by Bishop Stanislaus V. Bona on May 31, 1958, at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral in Green Bay.
“My most fundamental joy (of priesthood) is being with people; working with and ministering to the people,” Fr. Berryman told The Compass in a 2008 interview for his 50-year jubilee.
He found that joy at the many parishes he served in the diocese. Fr. Berryman’s first appointments were as assistant pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Luxemburg, and then St. Peter Parish in Oshkosh. In 1961, he was appointed chaplain of the Newman Center at UW-Oshkosh. He became assistant pastor at St. Matthew Parish, Allouez, in 1963.
His first appointment as a pastor was at St. Mary of the Lake Parish, Lakewood, where he served from 1968 to 1970. He also served as pastor at St. Patrick Parish, Green Bay; St. Mary Parish (co-pastor), Manitowoc; and St. Bernadette Parish, Appleton.
When Fr. Berryman started at St. Bernadette in 1989, the parish didn’t have a church. Mass was celebrated in a school auditorium. A “beautiful building” was constructed, he said.
Fr. Berryman’s final parish assignment was as administrator of the linked parishes of St. Ann, St. Anna, and Holy Family, New Holstein. Following his retirement to senior priest status on June 30, 2011, he continued to serve as priest celebrant in St. Anna and New Holstein.
While a resident at Caring Hands Assisted Living in New Holstein, Fr. Berryman celebrated Mass once a month there and gathered with Catholic residents weekly to pray the rosary.
“Being very open to people” helped him build relationships, said Fr. Berryman during his 2008 Compass interview. He had also served as chaplain of St. Paul Home in Kaukauna, on the diaconate board, diocesan board of education and as a member of the ecumenical commission.
“To serve in the Diocese of Green Bay has been a tremendous blessing,” he said. “I have been graced by wonderful people and friends wherever I have served. That has allowed me to minister to many different areas of God’s people. Being a pastor means serving all age levels. That is a great joy.”
The funeral Mass will be celebrated on Jan. 27 at Holy Rosary Church, New Holstein. Bishop David Ricken will preside. Fr. Tom Reynebeau will be the homilist. Burial will follow in Holy Rosary Cemetery.