NEW BERLIN – In the seasonal spirit of good will to men, New Berlin Mayor Terry Potter's family has always focused on service. Potter's father, Gary Potter, started this legacy of service back in the 60s, when he joined the Navy, and it has continued for three generations.
Gary, 72, was born and raised in New Berlin. He graduated from New Berlin Central School and joined the Navy right out of high school. He was in the Navy from 1964 to 1967.
The Navy vet said he was always interested in joining the Navy, and he is not the first person in his family to join the service. “My great grandfather was actually a Civil War veteran, which I am very proud of,” said Gary.
Gary worked for the flag office and was in charge of sending newsletters and other communications from the command center to the fleet.
“I lived right on the base. The best thing I ever did in my life was join the Navy,” said Gary. “It's the only time I ever left New Berlin.”
While Gary was stationed at Pear Harbor in Hawaii, he met his late wife, Pearlisa “Teddy” Potter. They were married in 1966 and moved to New Berlin to start a family.
“The part I remember most is meeting my wife. Terry takes after his mother,” said Gary.
Gary said he wanted to raise his family in the small town atmosphere. He felt New Berlin was the right place to raise children.
Gary and his wife had three boys: Terry, Duane and Jody, who he said were “all successful.” Gary was on the school board back when his boys were attending school in New Berlin, and he gave each of them their high school diploma when they graduated.
Terry became mayor of New Berlin, serving the community. Duane works at Wilson Memorial Hospital in Johnson City and offers service in health care, like his mother. Jody followed in his father's footsteps, as the second generation to join the Navy.
“Terry, Duane and I went down to Norfolk, Va. to attend Jody's retirement ceremony. He served in the Navy 26 years, and he went right back to work at the base, where his wife also works,” said Gary.
Jody Potter, 44, was also born and raised in New Berlin and graduated from New Berlin Central School. Like his father, at 18-years-old he joined the Navy and left his hometown to go attend boot camp near Chicago...