BOB CHERRY, CLASS OF 1942, GOLDEN GLOVES CHAMPION IN DENISON

 

A young Bob Cherry, DHS class of 1942 was Golden Gloves champion in Denison during high school days.

Several months ago Steve Cherry asked if I would be interested in going over some memorabilia saved by his dad, Bob Cherry. Never let it be said that I would pass up an opportunity like this.   I didn't know what I was getting in to. Steve delivered a huge carrying bag filled with what looked like - and may be - miles of three foot wide laminated rolled material holding hundreds or maybe thousands of items.

Steve said that Bob had saved all the material and had it preserved by being laminated. Some of the many rolls may be 20 feet long or more. Thankfully, some are shorter.

This past month while I have been recuperating from surgery, I decided to take a look. It's a treasure trove of information about the town and the family that Bob loved so much.

For short timers in Denison, Bob was "Mr. Denison." He ran Snow White Laundry since completing A&M with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, was mayor for two terms that included Denison's exciting Centennial in 1972, and also headed the Denison School Board.

He loved Denison and possibly knew more about the town, it's citizens and houses herein than anyone else. Steve said you could ask him about most any house in town and he could go back three generations. The family always told Bob he would be a good dispatcher for the fire department.

Bob passed away in 2003 after fighting a hard battle with cancer.

It doesn't look like Bob ever threw memorabilia away, especially if it involved his children, grandchildren or other youngsters he may have known. Through the years he amassed a gigantic collection of clippings, programs, cards, church bulletins, student pictures for special honors and outstanding service and even some of my columns through the years.

He had a great collection of refrigerator art, Snow White advertisements from the Denison Herald, and school and city council clippings and programs.

He has articles going back many years and some rewritten in more recent years. There are clippings on martial law in Denison in 1922, the old county jail in 1918, baseball great Rogers Hornsby, the fact that the Interurban fare was too high in 1901, an article by Claud Easterly telling how life went on as usual at home after the Day of Infamy in 1941 when Peal Harbor was bombed. There's even a 1943 honor roll of service men in Grayson County and photos of the May 25, 1930, Sherman Democrat during the courthouse burning.

Steve plans to keep the family and personal items and the historical ones will go to Grayson County Frontier Village where they can be shared with anyone interested in reading them.

Bob graduated at the age of 16 from Denison High in 1942, where he got involved, without his mother's knowledge, in Golden Glove boxing and was even the 1942 Golden Gloves Champion.   From there he went on to A&M and boxed some more, but this time his mom knew what was going on when he became Corp Champion.

He boxed in the Navy during World War II when he was in a V-12 program, something like OCS, that sent him to Georgia Tech, Tulane and other schools for classes. He boxed at all these places.

During his somewhat brief boxing career he never lost a fight which is quite an accomplishment.

Steve said that as a child Bob was on the hefty side until he ordered the Charles Atlas Muscle Building course and lost his "baby fat." He said kids teased him when he was heavy and he possibly took up boxing to defend himself. He never had trouble with his weight or with overbearing kids again.

Bob even got a taste of football at A&M. In 1942 when the entire A&M football team left school to sign up for service, Coach H.H. Norton told the student body that he needed a replacement football team. Bob and 29 others volunteered and they became known as the "Kiddie Korps". What started in jest became very serious and the team went to the Orange Bowl on Jan. 1, 1944.

When Bob finished his military service and earned his college degree, he had several job offers. But his mom asked him to come home and help out a little in the family business - Snow White Laundry. He did and he never left.

Bob's parents, Luther and Mary Cherry, purchased Snow White in 1922 from Barney Smith. Then it was only a laundry and Luther started the dry cleaning business. Luther had worked for a cousin in Sherman who owned Sherman Steam Laundry where Mary was bookkeeper. They met and married and Bob was born in 1926.

He has three children, Steve of Denison, who has four children, and Elisabeth of Utah and Catherine of Austin, who have five children each. Alll three graduated from Denison High School.

Steve, who lives in Bob's house, said the only thing in which his dad was unsuccessful was teaching him math. He had to have a certain number of hours in math to graduate from Sam Houston State and Bob tried to help him. Steve said by taking bottom of the chain classes he finally accumulated enough hours.

Steve also went to A&M, but graduated from Sam Houston with a degree in police science then received his Master's degree from Southwest Texas State. He has taught criminal justice classes for college credit at Denison High for five years. Incidentally, Steve has been nominated for Distinguished Educator of the Year by Sam Houstonís College of Education.

At Bob's request Snow White was sold after he died.

Steve has established the Robert L. Cherry Memorial Criminal Justice Scholarship at Grayson County College in Bob's honor.

Bob's list of honors is a foot long. Possibly the most recent came just before his death when the Denison Alumni Association named him a Distinguished Alumni from the school he loved so dearly.  - Donna Hunt

 

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