HICKSVILLE - George R. Cherry, former mayor of Hicksville and athletic director at Hicksville High School, died of kidney failure Tuesday in Parkview Memorial Hospital, Fort Wayne, Ind. He was 81.
Mr. Cherry of Hicksville, served three terms as mayor from 1984 to 1996.
“He's been loved by everybody in town,” his son, Craig, said. “Hicksville's mayorship was kind of in disarray when he came in, but by the time he left it was a well-oiled machine.”
Mr. Cherry focused on attracting industry to the town. Under his leadership, an industrial park was developed, his son said.
He was recognized for his efforts in 1996, when he was named Hicksville Citizen of the Year.
Mr. Cherry grew up in Greensburg, Ind. He attended Indiana University, where he lettered in basketball and baseball, and graduated from Butler University in 1947 with a bachelor's degree in education.
After earning his degree, he taught at high schools in Butler, Ind., and Huntertown, Ind. He taught geography, psychology, and sociology and was head basketball coach at both schools.
Mr. Cherry moved to Hicksville in 1962 and coached basketball for the local high school.
He was athletic director and assistant football coach, was Hicksville High School's first golf coach, and taught driver's education.
“He taught everybody in Hicksville how to drive,” his son said.
He retired from the high school in 1981.
Mr. Cherry was well known as a weekly columnist for the News-Tribune in Hicksville. He wrote about sports, local events, and trivia. He began writing in 1974 and the final column, scheduled to run in an upcoming edition, will commemorate his death.
Mr. Cherry was a member and past president of the Hicksville Rotary Club and head of Defiance County Litter Control.
He was a member of the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, the Hicksville Eagles Aerie, and Ohio Mayors Association.
Surviving are his wife, Maxine Haver; son, Craig; daughters, Christy Albright and Caril Lucas; stepsons, Larry and Barry Haver; brother, William Cherry; sister, Martha Hoffman; half-brother, James Cuskaden; half-sister, Margie Black, nine grandchildren, seven step-grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 10 a.m. today in Grace United Methodist Church in Hicksville. The body will be in the church an hour before services. The Brown Funeral Home in Hicksville is handling arrangements. The family requests tributes to the Kidney Foundation of Northwest Ohio, Defiance County chapter.