Ann Cherry

Published 10:56 pm Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011

Ann McCullough Cherry, who graced the lives of her family and friends for 86 years, died peacefully at home, with her family by her side, on Wednesday, June 29, 2011.

Born Ann McCullough in Nashville, Tenn., on Dec. 26, 1924, she grew up in and was educated in Nashville, the only daughter in a family of six children. Her parents and her brothers doted on her and her early childhood nickname, “Miss Pris,” was affectionately given and stayed with her for life. She charmed everyone she met and will be remembered for her gentle and joyful spirit, and her dedication to family.

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In 1943, she married Orion L. Cherry who at that time was serving in the U.S. Army. The subsequently moved to Portsmouth, Va., and later to Newport News, Va., where together they raised their three children and owned and operated Cherry’s Esso and later, Cherry’s Auto Repair. She accompanied her beloved husband Orion on sailing excursions throughout the Chesapeake Bay and down the Intercoastal Waterway and was his loyal sailing companion throughout their 63 years of married life.

Prior to her marriage, she supported the war effort by working in an aircraft manufacturing plant. When her children were young, she volunteered with the PTA and at local hospitals; in midlife, she worked side by side with her husband in support of their business endeavors. She was an accomplished seamstress who in her 80s continued to tackle difficult decorating projects with beautiful results. In her later years, she cared for her own mother following her father’s death and spent untold hours tending to the needs of her family.

Following the death of her husband in 2006, she made her home in Suffolk, Va., with her son and daughter, Orion L. and Jackie Cherry, who lovingly and tenderly cared for her in the last years of her life. At their home she greeted each morning by feeding the wildlife; she looked forward to the otter and osprey sightings, and the porch swing was a favorite retreat. Her children and extended family were devoted to her, and her two grandsons adored her, loving nothing better than spending time with their “Gran.”

A woman of good humor, she was a shining light who brightened the lives of all who knew her. Mrs. Cherry was predeceased by her husband, Orion L. Cherry; her parents; and four of her five brothers. She is survived by her son, Orion L. Cherry Jr., and her daughter, Jackie, of Suffolk, Va.; her daughter, Penelope Gentry and her husband, Michael, of Piedmont, S.C., and her daughter, Judy Ross and her husband, David, of Staunton, Va.; her grandson, Jason Ross and his wife, Sherri, and children Ashley and Elijah, of Hampton, Va., and her grandson, Mark Gentry, of West Palm Beach, Fla.; her sisters-in-law, Jean McCullough, and Araminta Williams and husband Talton; her brothers-in-law, Jimmy Cherry and wife, Jackie, and Arnold Felton and wife, Mae; her brother Tom McCullough and wife, Betty; and was blessed with many close nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

Funeral arrangements are being handled by Peninsula Funeral Home in Newport News, Va. Funeral services will be private. The family suggests that memorial donations be made to the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave., Suffolk, VA 23434, or to the charity of choice.