The Afro American (Baltimore) – Nov. 8, 1941, p. 14:
WHEELING, W.Va. -- Finis was written to a brilliant career Sunday with the funeral and interment here of Leon (Chu) Berry, former saxophonist in Cab Calloway's band.
Mr. Berry died Thursday of injuries sustained in an automobile crash on Monday fifteen miles from Conneaut, Ohio, when a car in which he was riding skidded during a heavy fog and crashed into the end of a steel bridge.
Physicians at Brown Memorial Hospital attributed his death to a fractured skull and other internal injuries.
Funeral services were held at the Simpson Church with the Rev. Mr. Hayling officiating. Interment took place in the Peninsula cemetery.
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Geraldine Berry; mother, Mrs. Margaret Berry, and sister, Miss Anne Berry. Pallbearers were: Duncan Hill, John James, Charles Scott, William Riley, James Wood and Wilkes Kinney.
Calloway, who came by plane from Rochester, N.Y., to attend the funeral, was visibly touched. He expressed deep regrets over the loss of “the greatest member of his band.” Cab also stated that Chu “would always be a member of my band.”
The band contributed a floral design shaped as a heart, while Cab's personal design was a spray of lilies that covered the entire casket. Numerous other pieces banked the whole front of the church.
More than a thousand persons viewed the remains and hundreds of cars were in the funeral procession.
Among out of towners attending the rites were: Mrs. E.S. Campbell, her three sons, and daughter, Mrs. Irene Erskine of Williamson; Mr and Mrs. John James, Huntington; Perry Smith, Aspin Wall, Pa.; Wm. Wood, Huntington; Mrs. Katherine Kennedy, Nashville, Tenn., mother-in-law; Mr and Mrs. Oswald Kennedy and Mr and Mrs. Harold Grave, all of Pittsburgh.
Generally recognized in hot jazz circles as second only to Coleman Hawkins on his instrument, he came into prominence in the middle 1930s with the rise in popularity of swing. A college graduate from West Virginia, he was given the designation of Chu from his way of working the saxophone mouthpiece between his lips on a hot chorus, much in the manner of a person chewing.
WHEELING, W.Va. -- Did Leon (Chu) Berry have a premonition of his untimely death?
At least Cab Calloway thinks so.
He revealed that the ill-fated car in which Chu was riding came within three feet of having an accident at a railroad crossing Sunday night.
Leon, Cab said, told him after that he was nervous while riding with the driver of the car. “I couldn't understand after he had that feeling why he would ride in the same car,” Cab added.
Cab received news of Berry's death while playing before 5000 people in Toronto, Canada, where the band was en route when the accident occurred. He worked four hours without letting the band know of Chu's death.
He stopped the band twenty minutes before the close of the engagement and made the announcement, after which the band played “God Save the King.”
Calloway announced that hereafter the band members would have to travel in the band bus or not at all.