James E. Berry

Class of
James E. Berry

James E. Berry

“One of the most widely known men of Oklahoma politics for three decades was James E. Berry.”
Pendleton Woods


Oklahoma banker and longtime Lieutenant Governor James E. Berry was born in Missouri and came to Oklahoma as a teenager where he attended Oklahoma A&M College, now Oklahoma State University, in Stillwater. Berry joined the Oklahoma National Guard in its early days and served on the Mexican border. He spent a year in France as a military captain and, following the first world war, commanded a National Guard Company at Stillwater until he was promoted to major. A banker by profession, he was elected president of the Stillwater Bank in 1929 and managed the bank throughout most of the rest of his life.

In 1930 Berry entered state politics and lost his first race for lieutenant governor. He returned four years later to be elected to the post. He was inaugurated in 1935 with Governor E.W. Marland and served for 20 years, under four governors, as Oklahoma’s lieutenant governor.

Fun fact

James E. Berry was often referred to as “Governor Berry” and “Governor Jim” after his tenure as Oklahoma’s lieutenant governor from 1935 to 1955.

Oklahoma connections

Berry came with his parents to live on a farm near Blackwell, Oklahoma, and then Stillwater in 1891.




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