Bernice Lolita Bishop Cherry was a lifelong member of Tindley Temple United Methodist Church where she was a Sunday school teacher for a number of years.
Two things were always an integral force in Cherry’s life: working in the church and music. Along with her sister Elizabeth, she began the Sunday School Breakfast program, which is still in existence today. She was a member of Bible class 12, the Finance Committee, the Tape Ministry, Middle Adults and the C.A.T. committee. Bernice was also a member of the senior choir for 50 years and sang under organists Kenneth Goodman and Dr. James E. Hoy. She was an avid supporter and participant of Tindley’s Messiah program for many years. She also sang on other church choirs throughout the city.
Cherry died January 13. She was 87.
Cherry was born on Feb. 15, 1924, in Philadelphia to the late Joseph and Savilla Bishop. Four of her siblings have already preceded her in death: Joseph Jr., Florence, Elizabeth and Robert.
Cherry was educated in the Philadelphia School system and graduated from William Penn High School (for girls at the time) at age 16.
Through her parents, after graduating high school, Cherry became a member of the Order of Eastern Star, which she participated in throughout her life. She was a member of Frances E. Edwards # 20 P.H.A.-O.E.S. and served as past worthy matron. She was also a member of the Golden Circle, Heroines of Jericho and Daughters of Isis. She was an active member until illness prevented her from participating.
One of the first jobs Cherry had was working at the Philadelphia Navy Yard as a riveter on battleships. It was there she met her future husband, the late Earle Preston Cherry Sr., and they married in 1946. From this union one son was born, Earle Preston Cherry Jr., who preceded her in death in 1995.
Cherry and her husband owned a restaurant called the Oak Room for eight years located at Broad and Master streets in Philadelphia.
Cherry was later employed by the Philadelphia Streets Department for 31 years until her retirement in October of 1987. After retiring from the city, Cherry became employed with the federal government. She later became an examiner for those taking the civil service exam for the city of Philadelphia until her health prevented her from continuing.
She is survived by her brother, Rev. William Bishop Sr.; cousin, Edythe Bryant; sister-in-law, Arzie Bishop; nieces, Joan Merritte, Diane Proctor, Rev. Darrylin Gordon, Shelia Myers, Cheryl Bishop, Vivian Cherry Harris and Janet Cherry; nephews, Darrell Gordon III (Rita), Reynaud Bishop (Vallerie), William E. Bishop Jr. and Christopher Cherry; seven great-nieces; five great-great-nieces; four great-great-nephews; and other relatives and friends.
Services were held January 19. Jackmon Funeral Home handled the arrangements.