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James Philip Cherry


James Philip Cherry, 69, of Girard, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, at his home in Girard.

Jim was born May 14, 1954, in Springfield, the son of Philip and Helen (Allen) Cherry.

He graduated salutatorian from Girard High School in 1972 and attended Millikin University in Decatur, where he became a member of Delta Sigma Phi and graduated cum laude, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Business and Industrial Management.

He started and played as an offensive lineman on successful football teams for Girard Big Red and Millikin Big Blue.

He married his wife Dawn Mercer on Oct. 18, 1980, at the First Christian Church of Girard.

Jim grew up in the grocery business, working alongside his father as a boy at Cherry’s Country Store, in Girard. He purchased the store from his dad in 1987 and became the owner and operator. Jim worked with valued employees to continue the tradition of “The Home of Fine Meats” and could be found at any given hour of the day stocking and facing shelves, ordering inventory, meticulously keeping books, or performing any of the daily operations. He oversaw a number of expansions and renovations and joined the Independent Grocers Alliance in 1995, renaming the business Cherry’s IGA. Through a commitment to high standards and an effort to serve customers, Cherry’s IGA earned multiple Five Star store awards. After marking the 108th year of family ownership, Jim and Dawn sold the store to Niemann Foods Inc. in 2014 to enjoy retirement.

In an effort to contribute to his community, Jim served on numerous boards and participated in various civic organizations including Prairie Temple Assembly of God church board, Pleasant Hill Village nursing home board, the Macoupin County CEO board, the North Mac consolidation committee of 10, Kiwanis Club, Girard Little League as a sponsor and coach, the Illinois Food Retailers Association, and the Evangel University Blitz Club. He was also honored to be a bank director at First National Bank of Raymond for twelve years.

Over the years, he received a number of distinctions such as the Illinois Food Retailers Association Distinguished Retailer Award in 2010 and, along with Dawn, the Girard Citizen of the Year in 2001. As a member of Prairie Temple Assembly of God, he enjoyed singing in holiday choirs and teaching the junior high Sunday school class. He had an eclectic taste in music and liked to listen to his favorites live and loud. He often remembered events in the context of sporting events and rooted on the Girard Big Red, North Mac Panthers, Chicago Cubs and Bears, U of I Fighting Illini, and Evangel Crusaders. He kept a membership at Oak Leaf (Hills) Country Club and enjoyed playing golf.
Jim was a committed Christian, humbly practicing his faith and endeavoring to share the love of God every day of his life.

Jim is survived by his wife, Dawn Cherry of Girard; sons, Jeff (Lyndsey) Cherry of Ozark, MO, Andy (Melissa) Cherry of Sunset Hills, MO; daughter, Jill (Fiancé Jim Hoffmann) Cherry of Troy; grandchildren, Owen Jeffrey, Winnie Harper, Evan James, Raymond James, Winston Philip Cherry; sisters, Betsy Bilbruck of Girard, Nancy Sanson of Girard, Julie Boente of Carlinville and Kathy (Terry) Hopkins of Girard; as well as many nieces and nephews.

Jim was preceded in death by his father, Philip Church Cherry; mother, Helen Louise Cherry; sister, Cindy Sidwell; brother-in-laws, Paul Sidwell, Bob Bilbruck; nephew, Scott Long; father-in-law Rev. Randol Mercer and brother-in-law, Marty Mercer.

Visitation will be held on Friday, March 1, 2024, 4 to 7 p.m. at Prairie Temple Assembly of God, Virden. Funeral Services will be conducted at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 2, 2024, at Prairie Temple Assembly of God, Virden with Reverend Dick Whitworth officiating.

Memorials may be made to Girard Fire and Rescue, North Mac Public School Foundation and the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter.

The memorial service will be live-streamed at the following link:

Visit to leave condolences or light a candle in his memory.

Davis-Anderson Funeral Home, Girard, is in charge of arrangements.