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Bob Cherry, June 2, 1940 - Dec. 6, 2022

Courtesy of the Cherry family.
Bob Cherry.

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Bob Cherry who passed away peacefully in Cody, Wyoming on December 6, 2022 at the age of 82.

Born to Kermit Preston and Orena Pearl Cherry in Rotan, Texas on June 2, 1940, Bob was the second of five siblings. The Cherry family settled in Kermit, Texas where Bob would graduate from Kermit High School in 1958. Following graduation, he enrolled at North Texas State University, graduating with a Masters in Education.

Bob started his career in Texas and then taught in New Mexico at Cumbres Junior High School. It was here that he met Carol Williams, another young teacher who had moved from her hometown in Cody, Wyoming to begin her own career.

Bob and Carol were married in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 3, 1967. A year later they left New Mexico to teach in a remote town in Alaska, starting a six-decade journey together.

For the next 30 years, Bob and Carol lived in Dillingham, Alaska where Bob taught English at Dillingham High School. As a teacher in a small school Bob filled many roles over the years—directing the band, serving as the principal and superintendent, and teaching drama. Alaska is not short on opportunities for adventure and Bob took advantage of those opportunities. He was an avid duck hunter, captained a commercial fishing boat, worked for the Department of Fish and Game on the Snake River, and taught his children to camp and fish and hunt—experiences that fueled hours of animated storytelling with his beloved friends and family.

Courtesy of the Cherry family.
Bob Cherry and other Dillingham teachers.

In 1996, following retirement, Bob and Carol moved to Cody, Wyoming where they set a foundation for the next 26 years. They built a home on their ranch, creating a hub for children and grandchildren to visit, often during Cody’s July 4th festivities. There were picnics at the end of the Southfork, trips into Yellowstone Park, visits to explore the museums, and adventures on the ranch including plenty of time spent in the corrals around a campfire roasting hot dogs and ridiculously large marshmallows.

As a professional dabbler, Bob pursued a long list of interests throughout his life—some of which he dedicated himself to deeply and others, not so much. The visible fingerprints of his life are those we can experience today: a still operating public radio station in Alaska that he founded in the 1970’s (KDLG); a series of novels set in the places he loved most; and wildlife conservation ponds on the ranch in Cody.

Pursuits that didn’t produce a physical totem created memories that friends and family will carry; wild floatplane departures and landings while duck hunting with Bob, joining him at the Terlingua International Chili Cook Off, watching his high school production of The Wizard of Oz, listening to him practice the guitarrón in hopes of joining a mariachi band, tasting his many iterations of double chocolate chip bread in his quest to perfect his recipe, watching him pretend to be a horse while playing with his grandkids, listening to him orate on ‘new facts’ he found while pursuing the story of Billy the Kid’s mysterious death, and hearing him recount the catalog of birds and wildlife he spotted that made their homes on the ranch. And of course, listening to him tell and retell his stories. Always stories.

These pursuits and diversions that piqued Bob’s interest along the way held his attention for weeks, sometimes months and, once in a while, years. They were a key pillar of what made Bob who he was to so many—they are his lore. He found immense joy in rehashing the details of these dalliances with family and friends. If the past with Bob is any indication of the future without him, these stories will always find a way into conversations around a dinner table, in backyard gatherings, or over a cup of coffee.

Friends and family can continue the debate, not about whether Bob’s stories were embellished, but rather how much he embellished them and how they changed with each telling. May we all find the same joy in our crazy adventures that he found in his–just think of the stories we’ll have to tell if we do so. That is what Bob would wish for all of us.

Bob is survived by his wife Carol, his daughter Darci and her husband Dave, his son Brandon and his wife Kacie, four adored grandchildren—Oliver, Zoe, Cole and Reed, four siblings—Glenda, Ben, Sandra and Preston and their families, and countless friends and acquaintances collected over his lifetime.

We invite friends and loved ones to join us in celebrating Bob’s life at a memorial service to be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Cody at 1:00 on Friday, December 16.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to KDLG at www.kdlg.org, the public radio station in Dillingham, Alaska that continues to provide hours of news and entertainment to the residents of Bristol Bay.

Bristol Bay Obituaries is a place for people to remember family members and loved ones who have died. Email submissions and photos to obituary@kdlg.org.