Obituary of John Berkes
Webster: John Berkes died peacefully at home surrounded by family on June 25, 2018 at the age of 77 following a long battle with progressive supranuclear palsy. John was born in Buziaș, Romania on September 5, 1940, the son of the late Stefan and Katharina Berkes. He is survived by his loving wife of 49 years, Kathryn Berkes; their children, Charlotte Berkes (Alexander Watters), Anna Berkes, Marschall (Megan) Berkes and Peter (Ashley) Berkes; five grandchildren, Susannah and Owen Watters, Connor and Maggie Berkes, and Caroline Berkes; his brother, Frank Berkes, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Escaping from communist Romania to Austria in 1947 at the age of 7, John later emigrated to the United States with his parents and brother in 1951. John earned a B.S. in Geophysics from Michigan Technological University in 1962 and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Solid State Science from Pennsylvania State University in 1968. During his time at Penn State, John met Kathryn Hamer. They were married on June 7, 1969 and settled and raised their family in Webster, NY.
John enjoyed a long and successful career as a senior research scientist at Xerox Corporation. His strong work ethic, analytical mind, and penchant for solving difficult problems earned him the respect of his colleagues. His work on fuser belt technology, image transfer and toner composition resulted in 46 patents during his 35 years at Xerox.
John was keenly curious and enjoyed learning about the world through travel. He visited Europe with his family and embarked on numerous cross-country road trips to visit our country’s many national parks, historical sites and natural wonders. Through his work at Xerox, John had the opportunity to visit Japan several times, where he developed a great admiration for Japanese culture. Following his retirement, John and Kathryn spent several years living in Green Valley, Arizona, which enabled them to travel extensively throughout the American West.
A hard worker who always relished a challenge and enjoyed spending time outdoors, John spent much of his free time working on landscaping, gardening, and home maintenance projects. John was naturally talkative, whip-smart, and relished the opportunity to engage in a friendly debate. His family, friends, colleagues and neighbors could always rely on John to be honest, outspoken, and always concerned about their welfare. John’s greatest passion in life was his family, who will cherish many fond memories of an energetic, engaged, and loving father and husband.
Throughout his entire life, John was an avid reader. His family is grateful that even as his disease progressed, his access to literature was extended by the availability of large print books, many of which were borrowed through the Webster Public Library. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Webster Public Library, 980 Ridge Road, Webster, NY 14580. (Please note “In memory of John Berkes” with any donations). This fund will be used for the acquisition of large print volumes.
A celebration of John’s life will be held on Sunday, August 5 at 2:00 PM at The Daisy Flour Mill, 1880 Blossom Rd., Rochester, N.Y.
The Willard H. Scott Funeral Home has been honored to serve the Webster community and the surrounding area for over 60 years. We remain dedicated to those we serve, providing compassion and guidance during one of life’s most difficult times.
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