Ovonual “Berk” Berkley
Ovonual “Berk” Berkley passed away peacefully on the afternoon of January 22, 2022. He was born on November 24,1934 in Bristow, Oklahoma, to Finies and Hazel Berkley. He was later joined by two sisters, Donna and Linda. When he was in the first grade, he met the girl who would become the love of his life, Maxine Brown. When he was young, the family moved back and forth between Madera and Oklahoma several times, finally settling in Madera for good. He attended Ripperdan and Lincoln Elementary Schools, and graduated from Madera High School in 1953, and shortly thereafter, he and Maxine were married at the home of his parents. During their 67 years of marriage, they had two children - daughter, Shella, in 1954, and son, Randy, in 1958.
One of Berk’s earliest jobs was at Western Grain & Milling, where he helped construct the silos that sat next to the railroad tracks. He had always wanted to be in law enforcement, so he joined the Sheriff’s Reserves. In 1964, he was sworn in as a full time deputy sheriff, by Sheriff Marlin Young. Four years later, he was made the Resident Deputy at Bass Lake. In 1974, the family moved to North Fork, where the family home remains. He graduated from the FBI National Academy in 1975. He was later made sergeant, and then became the first captain in the department. In 1980, he became the Sheriff of Madera County, where he served until 1986. His love of law enforcement led him to work for the Department of Justice in the C.A.M.P. Program, (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting). He worked for C.A.M.P. for 20+ years, and loved every minute of it.
After completely retiring from law enforcement, Berk and Maxine enjoyed RVing with their “third child”, their Chiweenie, Tina Louise. They made trips to Tennessee, fishing trips to Washington, and spent a lot of time in Cayucos, with other law enforcement retirees. They made weekly trips to the casino. Berk also enjoyed golfing, and was very proud of his two Hole-in-One Certificates. The Holidays were a big event in the Berkley home. Berk loved getting together with his kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids and telling them the stories of his life.
In April, 2020, he lost his wife of 67 years, and missed her every day thereafter. He was also preceded in death by his parents, his brother-in-law, Luther Alexander, and his son-in-law, Verne Baxter. He is survived by his daughter, Shella Baxter of North Fork, his son, Randy and his wife Debbie, of Madera. His sister-in-law, Ann Alexander, of North Fork; his sisters, Donna Autry of Fresno, and Linda Johnson, of Madera. Also by his granddaughters, Rebecca Berkley, of Fresno, and Mandy Gillard and her husband, Mike, of Atwater, his grandsons, Cory Baxter of North Fork, Doug Campbell and his wife, Sue, of Meridian, Idaho, and Dustin Campbell, and his wife, Jennifer, of College Station, Texas, along with 12 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren.
There will be a graveside service at Arbor Vitae Cemetery in Madera on Thursday, February 3, 2000 at 1:00PM. There will also be a Celebration of Life for both Berk and Maxine on February 26, 2022 at Noon at the North Fork Town Hall. Please RSVP to Debbie Berkley at 559-760-5769 by February 11, 2022