Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grailey Hewitt Berryhill (1896-1976)

Portrait from the Tennessee General Assembly composite photograph, 1967-68. 

    A three-term member of the Tennessee General Assembly, Grailey Hewitt Berryhill was born on August 17, 1896 in McKenzie, Tennessee, being the son of Adam Douglas and Harriett Costen Berryhill. He would attend school in Carroll County and later embarked upon the study of medicine at several colleges, including Tulane University, Washington University and Vanderbilt University. A standout football player at the last named school, Berryhill earned his medical degree from Vanderbilt in the class of 1921 and had married in June 1920 to Ms. Thelma Harwood (1898-1967). The couple would later have two daughters, Alica Anne Berryhill Boswell (1925-2013) and Dorothy Grailyn (born 1922). 
  Following his graduation from Vanderbilt Berryhill began the practice of medicine in Madison County where he operated for many decades. In addition to his being a physician, Berryhill also held memberships in the American Medical Association and both the Tennessee and Madison County Medical Societies. Sources also note that Berryhill was an instrumental figure in the eventual establishment of the West Tennessee School for the Deaf, as he himself suffered from deafness

                   Berryhill's college portrait, from the 1921 Vanderbilt Medical School Class Composite.

   While a good majority of Berryhill's life was centered in the private sector, he refrained from entering political life until he was nearly seventy years of age! Recorded as being a Democrat for the majority of his life, Berryhill switched political allegiance in the mid-1960s to the Republican party, and in 1966 was elected to represent the county of Madison in the Tennessee General Assembly. He would serve three terms here, being reelected in 1968 and 1970. His final term concluded in 1973 and he died three years later on January 10, 1976 at age 79. Berryhill had been preceded in death by his wife Thelma in 1967 and both were interred at the Ridgecrest Cemetery in Jackson, Tennessee.

                       Grailey H. Berryhill, from the 1969-70 Tennessee General Assembly composite.

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