Securing a legacy before and after death: Dr. Richard Berry

Personal Stories | May 31, 2024 | Dying With Dignity Canada

Home / Personal Stories / Securing a legacy before and after death: Dr. Richard Berry
A photo of Richard, Susan and Andrea embracing and laughing

In the summer of 2023, Dr. Richard Berry’s daughters, Susan and Andrea, reached out to DWDC because they wanted to support our organization through a donation of securities as a legacy to their late father. Dr. Berry was a strong advocate for end-of-life choice and had been a donor since 1985. 

Richard Berry was born in Madsen, Ontario near Red Lake. Later, he moved to Toronto to attend Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly know as Ryerson Polytechnic Institute) and eventually achieved his PhD in psychology in 1983. 

“Our father genuinely cared about people. He had a curiosity and respect for people from all walks of life.”  

Dr. Berry was involved in founding Thistletown, a residential treatment centre for adolescents. He was also deliberate in his work around the issue of sexual abuse, in exposing abuse in institutions and treating both the victims and the offenders. This included an assessment of the victims of the Mount Cashel orphanage in Newfoundland and his expert report exposing the lifelong impact of the abuse that occurred at that site. This was followed by his work with many Indigenous Peoples including the community of Sheshatshiui and their experience of forced relocation and institutional abuse. 

“Dad was a curious and adventurous person; he had a great sense of humour and a fantastic smile. He loved to listen to music and dance. He ran his psychology practice up until 2014 and enjoyed being busy including helping on Andrea’s farm. He was a broadly talented person.” 

Dr. Berry’s mother was diagnosed with dementia, and she lived in care for 13 years before she died. “This really impacted our dad and reinforced his belief in choice at end of life which made his own diagnosis of dementia very difficult. He joked with us that when the time came, he would want to be put in a canoe and pushed out in the lake to die on his own terms.” Of course, this was not an option and instead Dr. Berry was moved to a long term care facility. 

“This donation is a legacy in our father’s name and a way to provide hope for future generations that should they be diagnosed with a capacity-eroding condition, they will be able to make a formal, legal statement about their wishes at end of life. He was an advocate for people to have their own voice and this feels right. There is a need for advance requests for MAID and this is a gift to everyone in his name.”  

A securities donation enables our team to advance end-of-life rights and support suffering Canadians, while you eliminate some of the capital gains tax you would pay if you first sold the securities and then donated the proceeds. Read about it here. 

We can accept shares, mutual funds, segregated funds, bonds, flow-through shares, and employee stock options. 

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