Family of Lakewood father killed in fall calls 9-year-old son a hero



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Posted on August 28, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 28 at 7:15 PM

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Will Berry may have worked in a cubicle at Intel’s DuPont plant, but he loved spending time in the outdoors.

Berry, 40, died over the weekend after falling during a hike in the Alpine Wilderness area in Chelan County.

“It’s an unbelievably difficult situation to face as a family,” said Berry’s father-in-law, Jack Ernst.

Ernst said his son-in-law had been on an annual camping trip with Berry’s two brothers. This year, Berry brought along his 9-year-old son, Finn.

Finn was with his father when his dad slipped and fell. Finn tried to help, and has the scars to prove it.

The family considers Finn a hero. After his father fell, Finn climbed down the cliff and tried to comfort his father. Ernst said Berry told his son he needed to go get help.

Finn climbed back up the cliff and eventually other campers heard his yells for help. But by the time rescuers reached Will, more than six hours later, he had passed away.

“It’s really hard for us to imagine going on without him, but we have to,” said Ernst. "Life's that way."

Berry leaves behind a wife, Wendy, and four children.

The family has set up an account to help pay for college for the four children at the Washington State Employees Credit Union under the name “Poppa Bear Education Fund.” His children had called Berry “Poppa Bear.”