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Lucile Whitty Cherry passes away

Lucile Whitty Cherry completed her life of service to her family, her profession and students, her community and her faith on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019.

Lucile was born on May 11, 1922, to John Butler Whitty and Edith Allen Whitty. She was the eldest of six children born and raised on the homesteaded family farm in Lee, Fla.   

She attended elementary school in Lee and graduated from Madison High School in May of 1939. Lucile received her BA in Education from Florida State College for Women in 1943.

In the fall of 1943, Lucile began her career in Highlands County, Fla. as a fourth grade teacher. Although she taught there for only three years, she remained in contact with her former students and attended their class reunions for many years. She then taught in Polk County, Fla. for one year before coming home to Madison where she finished her long career. Upon her return, she taught at Lee School, then moved to Madison High School a few years later.

Early in her career, Lucile realized she wanted to transition from teaching to Guidance Counseling. Preparing for that change, she attended New York University for a summer and subsequently attended summer sessions at Florida State University, where she graduated in August of 1959 with a Master of Arts.

In 1962, she became the first full-time Guidance Counselor at Madison High School. As Guidance Counselor, she helped countless students prepare for life after graduation. Lucile loved helping her students and was once asked what other profession she would have liked to have.  She replied, "There was nothing else I ever wanted to do." She retired in 1981 and the school later named a Senior award in her honor.

Even though Lucile was retired, she wasn't finished serving students and became a part-time counselor at North Florida Junior College from 1983 to 1992. During this time, she was instrumental in starting the Women in Transition program, a support group for women who were entering education from other careers. She received numerous awards and other forms of recognition throughout her career and for her community service, including 2005 Madison County Citizen of the Year. She was a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, MCMH Pink Ladies and a Take Stock in Children Mentor. Lucile was a loyal member of the First United Methodist Church in Madison.

With her busy and fulfilling career she had the blessing of marrying the love of her life, Mark Cherry, whom she met on a school bus while attending Lee School. He could make her smile with his wit and make her fume just the same. He was her calm place and she energized him.  They supported one another in the pursuit of higher education and in their careers. They married July 27, 1947, the start of 52 years of love and companionship during which they raised their two sons. She adored her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and was an important part of their lives. Together, they traveled extensively until Mark's death in 1999.

Lucile helped run The Old Bookstore that Mark started after his retirement; upon his death, she ran the store herself until 2015. She always enjoyed meeting and talking to people who stopped by the store.

She thrived working in her flower beds and her yard. With the greenest of thumbs, she always had beautiful flowers, plants and shrubs in and around her house. Her array of African-Violets was everyone's envy, from which she often gifted leaves so others could enjoy their own. Her camellia cuttings were a sure sign she had been near, as much as her footprints.

She set the example of being kind, not wanting any acknowledgment, so we will never know the full impact of her good deeds.

Lucile cherished being part of a large extended family and kept up with everything that was going on in all of their lives. She relished the time spent with her and Mark's siblings, raising their families together, and loved her nieces and nephews as her own.

Lucile was asked a few years ago, "What is the one thing you most want people to remember about you?" Her answer was, "The work I did encouraging students and helping them prepare for their lives after school, and that I helped other people whenever I could." Toward that end, she touched many lives in many ways. What a beautiful life to be remembered as you wished.

Lucile is survived by her two sons, Allen Cherry (Linda) of Madison, Doug Cherry (Marcia) of Tallahassee; four grandchildren: Darryl Cherry (Missy) of Madison, Diane Head (Albert) of Madison, Scott Cherry (Lisa) of Tallahassee, Chris Cherry of Tallahassee; two step-grandchildren: Renita Trotti (Hugh) of Decatur, Ga.; and Eric Sharma of Tallahassee; nine great-grandchildren: Tucker Cherry, Ellie Cherry, Lucy Cherry, Savannah Cherry, Marcus Head, Abigail Cherry, Connor Cherry, Clayton Cherry, Macy Head; and one step-great-grandchild, Divya Trotti. She is also survived by two sisters: Frances Mercer of Madison; Gertrude Gamble of Vero Beach; and one brother, Ben Whitty of Gainesville, along with numerous nieces and nephews.

She was pre-deceased by her husband, Mark Cherry; her sister, Muriel Turlington; and brother, Bob Whitty.

Visitation with the family will take place at Beggs Funeral Home in Madison from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6. Funeral services will also be held at Beggs at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, followed by burial in Macedonia Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in her honor to Big Bend Hospice at 1723 Mahan Center Blvd Tallahassee Fla. 32308, www.bigbendhospice.org or The Florida United Methodist Children's Home at 51 Children's Way Enterprise Fla. 32725, www.fumch.org or to a favorite charity of your choice.

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