Mrs. Rita Pearl (Brinkley) Berry, of Valdese, passed Wednesday Morning January 31, 2024, at Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care, after a period of declining health.

Rita was born on February 15, 1932 to Clyde Samuel Brinkley and Pearl Harris Brinkley. A graduate of Mars Hill College, Rita worked in the accounting department of Alba Waldensian hosiery manufacturing for 38 years. She was an active member of Valdese First Baptist for her entire life, where she served in multiple capacities and served as secretary for a number of years. Rita loved music and served in the choir and taught children’s choir for many years. Rita volunteered at the church library with fellow member Nancy Horton, and always suggested her favorite books to her family and friends. Rita was celebrated as the oldest living member of First Baptist Valdese at the church’s centennial celebration in 2020.

In addition to her parents, she is preceded in death by her husband Charles “Norman” Berry whom she married on April 5, 1955. Rita and Norman were married for 65 years until his death on October 23, 2020. Rita was his constant companion, and caregiver in his later years. She is also preceded in death by her grandson, Spencer Andrew Berry; and beloved siblings, John Brinkley, Sam Brinkley Jr., Howard Brinkley, Robert Brinkley (all of whom served proudly in World War II), Mildred Young, and Carl Brinkley.

Rita is survived by three sons, Mark Alan Berry of Valdese, John Brinkley Berry of Fuqua-Varina, and Andrew Kevin Berry and wife, Lorie, of Valdese; grandchildren, David Berry (Lindsey), Brinkley Herzog (Kyle), Erin Berry, and Alex Berry; and four great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her youngest sister, Norma Cobble (Howard) of Carrollton, Georgia; and numerous loved nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 12:00 PM at Valdese First Baptist Church with Rev. Dr. Josh Lail and Rev. David Greene officiating. A reception will be held following the service in the church Fellowship Hall.

A private graveside service will be held at Forest Hill Cemetery prior to the service.

The family would like to say a special thank you to her neighbors, Chris and Kathy Deal and Karen and Tony Robinson; and to Caldwell Palliative Care for their loving care of Rita.

Memorials may be made to Valdese First Baptist Choir at 500 Faet St. NW, Valdese NC 28690.

An online guestbook and obituary is available at

Heritage Funeral Service & Crematory of Valdese is serving the family.