PENDLETON — Stephen Cherry, a well-known figure at Pendleton Heights High School — where, among other things, he’d been a teacher, coach and leader of the student radio station — died Friday, at his home in Pendleton.
He was 70 years old.
“Mr. Cherry was a longtime contributor to the students and athletes at Pendleton Heights,” Principal Mark Hall wrote in an email to the Times-Post Friday afternoon. “He served as a teacher and was the general manager for our student radio station 91.7 WEEM.
“In addition to his work at Pendleton Heights, he was also a dedicated IHSAA official for many years. Mr. Cherry served our students and our community well. He will certainly be missed.”
On Friday afternoon, news of Cherry’s death was posted on WEEM’s Facebook page:
“We were just informed Mr. Cherry, our former station manager, has passed away. He was such a big part of this program, our community and the lives of so many during the years. He will be missed.”
Cherry, a graduate of Shelbyville High School and Ball State University, worked at Pendleton Heights middle and high schools from 1969 until his retirement in 2005. He taught speech, driver’s education and English. He also coached cross country, track and golf. After retiring, he served as assistant athletic director through 2012, and continued to help out in other ways.
Dozens of people left comments on the WEEM post highlighting the impact Cherry had on them.
“I literally would not be where I am today without Mr. Cherry giving me the opportunities that WEEM provided,” Zach Johnson wrote. “He pushed me whenever I needed it, and even though I graduated back in ‘04, he had still kept tabs on me and would always tell me how proud he was of me, and how much he enjoyed still listening to me call sports … whenever he could.
“I owe the fact that I am currently posting this from a radio studio in Daleville to Mr. Cherry. The man is basically responsible for my current radio career, because I wouldn’t be on this path with his encouragement.”
Cory Moore wrote: “The one man that helped get me through high school. He was more than a friend not only to me but countless others at WEEM, in the halls, the pool, the Hawaii trips, or just around town. He was a great man. Period.
“He loved his Pizza King, watching sports and being a part of the crowd, and was a consummate professional on the airwaves that helped structure what 91.7 is today. … It truly is a sad, sad day for all of his students, teacher counterparts, residents and fellow sports nuts of Indiana, and friends.”
Griffin McCarty posted: “There are very few people who have done as much for Pendleton Heights as Mr. Cherry. This is very sad, praying for his family and loved ones.”
Chad Cook, coach of the Pendleton Heights girls basketball team, shared some remembrances Friday night.
“Steve Cherry was an amazing Pendleton Heights Arabian through and through,” Cook wrote in an email. “He was always the first one to want to see the Booster Club Letter at the start of our Lady Arabians season. He was at every game.
“I remember when my coach’s office used to be his hospitality room. He would make all the food for the Pendleton Heights and opposing team’s staffs. No one could put a spread together quite like Mr. Cherry. He will be greatly missed from every sport at Pendleton Heights.”
In addition to the high school, Cherry also supported the town of Pendleton, including at one time serving as president of the town’s park board.
Visitation is scheduled from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, at Wilson St. Pierre Funeral Service and Crematory Lahm Chapel, in Pendleton.
Services will start at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the high school auditorium, with calling starting at 9 a.m.
For more details, see the obituary section, Page A2.