Marengo fire captain from Huntley dies after fight with cancer

MARENGO – Marengo Fire Protection District Capt. Steve Berry was someone who co-workers said had the biggest heart, loved the fire service and loved his family.

The 63-year-old Huntley man died Tuesday after fighting bile duct cancer for about a year, Marengo Fire Protection District Capt. John Kimmel said.

Kimmel said Berry came to Marengo as a firefighter in 2009 after retiring from the Elgin Fire Department, where he was a lieutenant for nearly 30 years. He was a captain with Marengo fire for the past two years, Kimmel said.

“You never saw Steve have a bad day,” Kimmel said. “He lived, breathed, loved the fire service, his family, his faith. He was a man’s man, and he was a family man – and it’s something that anybody in the fire service or a father should strive to be.”

Berry had two sons, Christopher Berry and Brian Berry, who is a lieutenant at the Carpentersville Fire Department, Kimmel said. Steve Berry and his wife, Linda Berry, had three grandchildren, Kimmel said.

The Elgin, Marengo and Carpentersville fire departments supported Steve Berry through his fight with cancer with the “Berry Strong” fundraiser, Kimmel said. And although Steve Berry was off work recovering from recent surgeries when he died, he always intended to come back to the fire service, Kimmel said.

“He’s a fighter,” Kimmel said. “That’s one thing – there wasn’t an ounce of quit in him. He never gave up the whole time.”

Craig Pleva, Marengo battalion chief and Elgin lieutenant, has worked with Steve Berry on and off for more than 20 years, and said Berry was destined to be a fireman.

“Steve was one of the guys that was really, really good at making solid, quick decisions,” Pleva said. “He was aggressive, but he was always safe.”

Steve Berry loved helping people, Pleva said, and made friends easily.

“To know Steve was pretty much to love Steve,” Pleva said.

Marengo Fire Protection District Lt. Mark Pankow agreed that Steve Berry was a great man to work with.

“I trusted him with my life,” Pankow said. “He never had a bad thing to say about anybody. He was one of those guys who was just very genuine. He just had the biggest heart, and he will be missed.”

Wake and funeral services will be held at Harvest Bible Chapel, 1000 N. Randall Road, Elgin.

The wake will be from 3 to 9 p.m. Monday, with a silent guard from 4 to 8 p.m., and a firefighter walk-through at 6:30 p.m.

The funeral service will start at 10 a.m. Tuesday, followed by a procession to the grave site at Lakewood Memorial Park, 30W730 Route 20, Elgin. The procession will pass Elgin Fire Department Station Five, 804 Villa St., Elgin, where Steve Berry used to work.