This story was originally published by the Daytona Times.
Charles W. “Chuck’' Cherry II of Daytona Beach, a fierce proponent of the Black Press and a longtime warrior for social justice, died on Saturday, July 15, at age 66.
Chuck Cherry retired as publisher of the Daytona Times and the Florida Courier in 2020 after running the Black newspapers’ editorial operations for decades.
The retired attorney also was an author, speaker, radio broadcaster and strategic business planning consultant.
In 2019, he founded 623 Management, Inc., a company that focused on developing and disseminating messaging to Black America with a specific focus on understanding and reaching Florida’s Black population through a comprehensive marketing strategy.
He also was a sought-after speaker on Black history and civil rights in Daytona Beach and beyond.
Charles W. Cherry II was born on Aug. 6, 1956, in Daytona Beach to Julia T. Cherry and Charles W. Cherry, Sr., founder of the Daytona Times and Florida Courier newspapers. The senior Cherry also was a past president of the Florida NAACP and a former Daytona Beach city commissioner.
A graduate of Seabreeze High School in Daytona Beach, Chuck Cherry received his B.A. degree in journalism from Morehouse College in 1978. While at Morehouse, he pledged Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, following in the footsteps of his father. Chuck Cherry then went on to receive both his M.B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Florida in 1982.
While at Morehouse, he was president of its Interfraternity Council; Basileus of the Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity; a Student Government Association representative; and a four-year track letterman in high jump.
Admitted into the Florida Bar in December 1983, he was a former Fort Lauderdale city and South Florida state prosecutor, and practiced law for 21 years before returning to journalism and newspaper publishing as his primary occupation upon the death of Charles W. Cherry, Sr.
For more than 10 years, Chuck Cherry also served as general counsel to the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale.
Along with being publisher of the newspapers, he served as general manager of the family-owned radio station WPUL-AM and for years was host of the station’s “Free Your Mind’' radio show.
His “Straight, No Chaser’' column appeared weekly for years in the Florida Courier and garnered Florida and national awards.
He also was an author and publisher of “Excellence Without Excuse: The Black Student’s Guide to Academic Excellence’' in 1994, which has been used as a textbook in college-preparation classes and seminars.
In 2016, he co-wrote “Fighting through the Fear’' with his Morehouse College roommate and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity brother, C. David Moody Jr. of Atlanta.
“We met on the first day on campus. We both arrived a day early, so we were the only two in the dorm. We became roommates,’’ Moody said. “Chuck was one of the smartest people I ever knew. He did his research before ever putting his pen to the paper. He was an incredible high jumper, and an awesome friend. He loved his children, family, and friends. I will miss him so much.’’
Jenise Griffin, who replaced Cherry as publisher in 2020, said, “Chuck Cherry was my longtime mentor and friend, and I am devastated by his passing. He was a giant in the journalism industry and his voice will be missed. As his award-winning column was titled, he told it ‘straight, no chaser.’ I admired him as a journalist, a brother with a great legal mind, and an awesome father.’’
She added, “Although he was no longer a working member of the Daytona Times and Florida Courier, the staffers often still reached out to him for advice and insight on their editorial projects.’’
Charles W. Cherry II is survived by his two children: daughter, Chayla Cherry, a recent graduate of Spelman College and a recipient of a Master’s in Global Affairs at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China; son, Charles W. Cherry III, a student at Morehouse College; former wife, Lisa Rogers Cherry of Fort Lauderdale; brother, Dr. Glenn Cherry (Dr. Valerie Cherry) of Tampa; sister, Cassandra Cherry Kittles (Willie Kittles) of Daytona Beach; nephew, Jamal Cherry (Dr. Sierra Cherry) of Houston, Texas; great niece, Mila Cherry of Houston; and other relatives.
He was preceded in death by his father, Charles W. Cherry, Sr., his mother, Julia Mae Troutman Cherry, and a daughter, Chip Happy Cherry.