Berry, Frank O.

1888-1962 | Electrician, City of Anchorage

Frank O. Berry was born in 1888 in Stillwater, Minnesota. He studied electrical engineering at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington. Lillie Burbank was born in St. John, Washington in 1886. She and Frank were married in Spokane, Washington in 1908. In 1916, Frank came to Anchorage and was employed as an electrician with the Alaskan Engineering Commission (AEC). He installed the first generator and switchboard for the power plant and also installed the first telephone exchange in Anchorage. In 1917, Lillie arrived in Anchorage with her parents to join Frank. He stayed with the AEC and the Alaska Railroad for five years. When the City of Anchorage took over the electrical and telephone system from the AEC, Frank was hired on as the city electrician.

Frank and Lillie Berry lived in a tent for a year while they were building their first home on 8th Avenue and E Street in 1918. They left Alaska in 1928 and returned in 1936, when Frank again worked for the City of Anchorage until 1942. During that year he went to work for the Civil Aeronautics Administration, where he remained until his retirement in 1956. Lillie kept busy being involved in the Anchorage Woman's Club and the Presbyterian Church, working at the Alaska Railroad Hospital, and doing part time dressmaking and tailoring for local boutiques.   

Frank O. and Lillie Berry had one son, Frank Edward Berry, born in 1925. He married Betty Heverling and they had four children; Frankie Michele Klingbeil, Dennis L., Janis Chapman and David D. Frank O. Berry passed away in 1962, and Lillie died in 1973. They are both buried in the Masonic Tract, Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery. Frank E. Berry died July 19, 2004, from complications of Parkinson's disease. He was buried in the Pioneer Tract of Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery.


This biographical sketch of Frank O. and Lillie Berry is based on an essay which originally appeared in John Bagoy's Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage, AK: Publications Consultants, 2001), 134-135. See also the Frank O. Berry file, Bagoy Family Pioneer Files (2004.11), Box 2, Atwood Resource Center, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Anchorage, AK. Photographs courtesy of the Berry family.  Edited by Mina Jacobs, 2012.  Note:  edited slightly by Bruce Parham, April 4, 2016. 

Preferred citation:  Mina Jacobs, ed., "Berry, Frank O.," Cook Inlet Historical Society, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940,


Major support for Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940, provided by: Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Atwood Foundation, Cook Inlet Historical Society, and the Rasmuson Foundation. This educational resource is provided by the Cook Inlet Historical Society, a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt association. Contact us at the Cook Inlet Historical Society, by mail at Cook Inlet Historical Society, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, 625 C Street, Anchorage, AK 99501, or through the Cook Inlet Historical Society website, Copyright © 2017 by Cook Inlet Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.