Dr. Russell Thomas Cherry Jr., 84, died in Lumberton, N.C. on Friday, December 2, 2011.
He served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at UNC Pembroke from 1996 - 2009.
A native of Portsmouth, Va., Dr. Cherry was educated at the University of Richmond and at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where he received both a master of divinity degree and a Ph.D. As a graduate student, he served as a fellow in the Department of Homiletics. Campbell University honored Dr. Cherry with a doctor of divinity degree in 1989.
Dr. David Nikkel, chair of UNCP’s Department of Philosophy and Religion, remembered him. “Dr. Cherry was loved by his students. During his years teaching Introduction to Religion and Introduction to New Testament, Dr. Cherry always spoke with eloquence, illustrated his points with engaging stories, and showed genuine concern for his students. The Department of Philosophy and Religion appreciates all Dr. Cherry contributed to UNCP. He will be sadly missed.”
Ordained by the South Street Baptist Church (now Western Branch) in Portsmouth, he served as pastor of churches in Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia and North Carolina. For 22 years, Dr. Cherry served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lumberton, retiring in 1992.
Dr. Cherry became interim pastor of First Baptist Church in Bladenboro, N.C., and in 1993, Dr. Cherry became pastor in Bladenboro and served for 10 years, retiring in 2003. In 2004, Dr. Cherry was installed as pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church of Lumberton, and continued to serve in that capacity until his death.
Dr. Cherry wrote Sunday school lessons for the Sunday school board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He authored two books: “At Calvary” and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.”
Dr. Cherry was active in Baptist affairs. In Virginia, he served on the General Board of Baptist General Association and taught for the University of Richmond School of Christian Education. In North Carolina, he served as trustee of both Chowan and Campbell Universities.
In 1969, he preached the convention sermon at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. In 1994, Dr. Cherry established the Russell T. Cherry Chair of Old Testament Studies at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, Va.
Memorial gifts may be made to First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 938, Lumberton, N.C., 28359; or First Baptist Church, P.O. Box 176, Bladenboro, N.C, 28360.