A man who helped change the skyline in Louisville has died.
Chairman Emeritus of the Board at Louisville’s Wehr Constructors, Claude A. Berry Jr., died on Monday, Jan. 23, at his home in Eminence, Ky. He was 91. Berry began working at Wehr in 1964 and became sole owner in 1986.
Wehr Constructors is responsible for a number of high-profile projects in Louisville, including the Jewish Hospital Rudd Heart and Lung Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville’s expansion and garage, Humana Building and the Presbyterian Church USA headquarters. Current projects for Wehr Constructors include the $8 million airport renovation and the $12 million expansion at the Louisville Collegiate School.
A World War II veteran, Berry began his work at Wehr as an estimator and project manager. He retired from full-time operations at Wehr in 1999. According to his obituary, “Berry’s leadership and vision solidified Wehr Constructors as a respected industry leader in general contracting and construction management.”
Shawn Woosley, vice president of finance at Wehr, said that Berry was “still active in any decisions or directions the company was making.” He had already retired when Woosley started at the company but Berry helped him understand the history of the company and how things were done before the advent of today’s technology.
“He was knowledgeable, easy-going, driven by his values and his religion,” Woosley said. He strongly enforced “ethics before profits” with everyone in the company.
Over the course of his professional life, Berry earned many accolades as a businessman and a citizen. In 1991, Mr. Berry was named Man of the Year by the Construction Specification Institute; in 1995, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the University of Kentucky College of Engineering; in 2006, Mr. Berry was inducted into the Eminence High School Hall of Fame; and in 2009 he received the Patrick Henry Award as Henry Countian of the Year.
Mr. Berry was a 50-year member of the Louisville Consistory Scottish Rite and a member of Louisville Kosair Shriners and Eminence Masonic Lodge Number 282.