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Sandra Wilson Cherry

Sandra Wilson Cherry

Sandra Wilson Cherry died at her home in Little Rock on Tuesday, surrounded by her family. She was 64. She is survived by her beloved husband, John Sandefur Cherry Jr., and by her daughter, Jane Wilson Cherry of Washington, D.C. Born in 1941, Sandra is predeceased by her parents, Berlin Alexander Wilson and Renna Glen Barnes Wilson, and by a brother, Berlin Alexander Wilson Jr.

Sandra was devoted to her family, her profession and her community.

Raised in Little Rock, she attended Little Rock schools and was a member of the "Lost Class of 1959", when the Little Rock high schools were closed. During that year, she attended Hendrix College and later graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1962, where she earned a BA degree in History. She subsequently taught history and civics in the Little Rock Public Schools and served as Chairman of the Social Studies Department at Horace Mann Junior High School.

In 1972, she left the teaching profession to enter the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, and later transferred to its Little Rock division. A member of the University of Arkansas Law Review, she graduated in 1975 and began work as the first woman in Arkansas appointed as an Assistant United States Attorney. She served in that capacity for over 28 years, interrupted only in 1981, when Governor Frank White appointed her to serve as an Arkansas Public Service Commissioner. Again, she was the first woman to serve in that position. In 1983, she returned to the United States Attorney's Office where, beginning in 2003, she served as First Assistant United States Attorney until her retirement.

During Sandra's time in the United States Attorney's Office, she served as a trial adjunct instructor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law and taught at the Attorney General's Advocacy Institute in Washington, D.C. She was a recipient of the Department of Justice Director's Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney, presented to her by then United States Attorney General Janet Reno.

In 2003, Sandra was recognized by Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller for her outstanding prosecutorial skills. She received the United States Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General's Integrity Award in both 1995 and 2002 in recognition of her contribution to the mission of the Inspector General. In 1992, she received the Arkansas Bar Association Golden Gavel Award for Exemplary Service to the Legal Profession. In 1991, she was awarded the Gayle Pettus Pontz Award by the Women Law Students Association at the University of Arkansas "for outstanding excellence and achievement in the legal profession"

Sandra was Past President of the Arkansas Bar Association, one of two women who have been elected to that position. She was also Past President of the Pulaski County Bar Association. In 1999, she was elected Fellow of the American Bar Foundation and was Fellow of the Arkansas Bar Foundation. In 2000, she was appointed by then Chief Judge Susan Webber Wright to the United States District Court Magistrate Selection Panel. In 1993, she was appointed by then Chief Judge Richard Arnold to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals Gender Fairness Task Force, and served on the program committees for the Eighth Circuit Judicial Conferences in 1995 and 1999.

During her years of service to the legal profession, Sandra was dedicated to increasing the organized bar's membership and diversity. She considered it one of life's great benefits to work with the distinguished lawyers with whom she had the opportunity to serve on these and other efforts. She enjoyed mentoring law students and young lawyers, believing that whatever success she had achieved was in large part attributable to distinguished lawyers who had mentored her during her law school years.

In 2004, she delivered the commencement address to the graduating class at the William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock.

Sandra was Past Chair of the Arkansas Community Foundation Board of Directors and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Good Shepherd Ecumenical Retirement Center. She served on the boards of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion Association, the Arkansas Hospice Foundation, Inc., Gaines House, which she served as President, and the UALR School of Law Alumni Association, which she also served as President. She was a founder and past member of the Board of Directors of the Women's Foundation of Arkansas, and a member of the Arkansas Women's Forum. She was a sustaining member of the Junior League of Little Rock, having served on its board, and was a member of Pi Beta Phi Sorority. Sandra was a lifetime member of Second Presbyterian Church.

In the last year of her life, Sandra was passionately devoted to raising funds to create a learning center at UAMS for living kidney donors as a tribute to the young woman who had given a kidney to her.

Funeral services will be held at First Presbyterian Church at 3 pm on Thursday, August 3 officiated by Rev. Steve Hancock and Rev. Jim Miller. Interment will follow in Roselawn Cemetery following the funeral service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Mary Melissa Cobb Fund Honoring Living Kidney Donors at UAMS or to the Sandra Cherry Endowment for Legal Scholarship at the Arkansas Community Foundation.

Funeral arrangements are by Ruebel Funeral Home,

Condolence Book

"Loved by many will be missed by many."
Jennifer Niemeyer | Little Rock, AR |

"Sandra's smile will live forever in our hearts and will illuminate heaven's gate. "
Diane Gerrald | Edgemont, AR |

"I will always remember the sunshine in Sandra's smile and her strength. She gave me an opportunity to move forward in life and the encouragement to reach for the stars. I will miss her very much."
Carol Price | Jacksonville, AR |

"She will be missed by many in the government community."
William W. Root | Baton Rouge, LA |

"during our work together on the Eighth Circuit Gender Fairness Task Force, Sandra and I formed a genuine lasting friendship that I will miss forever. My grief is lessened by knowing she is now not suffering and is in a better place. My prayers are with those remaining that loved her so."
Marsha Wardlaw Clevenger | Little Rock, AR |

"My deepest sympathy to the Cherry family. Sandra was truly the finest of Southern ladies and a joy to work with. We miss her."
Kim Squires | Sherwood, AR |

"To Sandra's family and friends I work with Sandra at the Public Service Commission and at the US Attorney's Office in Little Rock, AR. She was a very honest, warm and professional person. She was always kind to me. Nothing fake about Sandra. I am happy to have known her. Thank you Karen Morgan"
Karen Morgan | Richmond, CA |

"Sandra was an attorney that always wanted to do the right thing and one that I would always look forward to working with."
Rufus Banks, Jr. | Little Rock, AR |

"Sandra was a special lady who will be missed, but not forgotten. You are in my thoughts and prayers."
Barbara Owen | Little Rock, AR |

"I'd like to extend my deepest condolences to the family. I had the pleasure of working with Mrs. Cherry through the U.S. District Court. The world has lost a wonderful and incredible person and friend."
A.D. Edgerson Jr. | Little Rock, AR |

"Sandra was one of the most gracious ladies I have ever known."
Mary Davis | Little Rock, AR |

"Sandra always performed her duties in a very professional manner showing compassion, respect and dignitiy to all she encountered in the criminal legal setting. She put forth a lot of effort in the courtroom and wanted to always represent the U.S. Attorney's Office in a positive manner."
Daryl Bailey | Little Rock, AR |

"Jack, I am out of the country, and will not be back in time for Sandraś funeral. She fought a good fight, and my thoughts are with you and your daughter."
Cathi Compton | <little Rock, AR |

"Sandra was a wonderful woman and I am honored to had the pleasure of working with her and knowing her personally. I treasure the memories with her and will strive to continue my career in law enforcement and the government in such an honorable fashion as Sandra accomplished. Sandra was well respected in law enforcement and legal industry and you are fortunate to have been blessed with being able to be so close to her as a family. I will always remember her smile, compassion for people, and determined work effort. May God Bless"
Scott Hogue, Supervisory Special Agent IRS-CI | Little Rock, AR |

Glen and Teresa Perciful | Little Rock, AR |

"Sandra was a wonderful "CLASSY" Lady. She touched many lives on her journey though life. My prayers are with her family. "
Linda Binz | LITTLE ROCK, AR |

"Sandra, a true "Lady" and my life has been blessed to have known and worked with you. God bless."
Karen Holmes | LITTLE ROCK, AR |

"Dear Family of Sandra Cherry,
You are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. As a member of the board of Good Shepherd Retirement Center with her, I was honored and impressed with her kind heart, gentle spirit, and willingness to serve others. She will be dearly missed by all.
Prayers, Elizabeth"

Elizabeth Reha | Little Rock, AR |

"Jack, You and Jane are in our prayers. I really enjoyed working with Sandra over the years."
Ken & Sandy Stoll | North Little Rock, AR |

"What an awesome Lady, I will truly miss her."
Freddie McNeal-Wells | Jacksonville, AR |

"Sandra was a class act and gave the utmost in integrity to her job as well as her personal relationships. As many others have said, she was a huge proponent of law enforcement and always acted in an ethical and upright manner. Whatever Sandra told anyone could be taken to the bank, as she would stick to any promises or statements she might have made to either side of the litigation community. We will pray for your in your time of grief; but know that Sandra and her impact in this community will NEVER be forgotten!"
David P. Clark, Ret. S/A, IRS CI | Hot Springs, AR |

"Jack, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers."
Christine Cryer Boozer | Sherwood, AR |

"Dear Jack and Jane,
We join you in grieving Sandra's death and in praising the many contributions which she made during her life. When we lived in Little Rock, I had the pleasure of Sandra's company and friendship while at the OUSA/EDAR. This friendship continued over the years after we moved to Dallas. Sandra had a remarkable wit and delightful personality which made her such fun to be around. Sandra's legal acumen gave her the ability to see the essence of an issue or challenge, and the judgment to proceed in a fair and judicious manner. Sandra leaves us with much to appreciate by having known her. God bless you.

Katherine and Brian McGovern | Dallas, TX |

We were saddened by your wife's death. You and your family will be in our prayers."

Kelvin & June Wyrick | Texarkana, AR |

"Sandra amazed me with her insight in dealing with situations. I will miss her, especially her smile. "
Deborah Dukes | Little Rock, AR |

"Jack, Sandra was truly a beautiful women, and a highly respected woman and attorney. I know mom and dad both thought the world of her. Our thoughts and prayers are with you."
Chris Amsler | Little Rock, AR |

"Jack, Sandra was truly a beautiful woman, and a highly respected lady and attorney. I know mom and dad both thought the world of her. Our thoughts and prayers are with you."
Chris Amsler | Little Rock, AR |

"Sandra was a wonderful woman--I enjoyed being her "next door neighbor" at the office for the past several years. Her grace and style were something I always admired. I will miss her, and my prayers are with the family."
Mandy Warford | Little Rock, AR |

"Sandra was a wonderful person in all of her many roles. I am so happy I had the privilege of knowing her and working with her in the past. My sincerest sympathy goes to her husband Jack and daughter Jane. She touched so many lives and will be missed by so many. Rest in peace, Sandra, you lived a remarkable life!"
Laura Nesuda | Dallas, TX |

"Sandra Cherry was a fine person and an outstanding lawyer. She was an asset to her profession. She did a wonderful job as president of the Arkansas Bar Association. She will be missed."
Robert L. Jones, III | Fayetteville, AR |

"Ron and I had the privilege of knowing and working with Sandra for over twenty years. We admired and respected her both personally and professionally. She was the most gracious lady I've ever known. Hers was a life well lived! "
Ron and Nan Wolfe | Benton, AR |

"Jack and Jane, Sandra was a friend for over thirty years and a professional colleague for twenty-five years. You get to know someone pretty well when you try cases with them and we went through some tough times together. Sandra was the consummate southern lady, always gracious, always professional and never losing her composure. She was the epitomy of the steel magnolia. She was loved and will be missed by us all. I have no doubt that Sandra will soon be the President of the Heavenly Bar Association and that she and the other two members will accomplish great things. Our thoughts and prayers are with you both."
Bob Govar | Litttle Rock, AR |

" Her family always came first. Her smile and laughter will be missed. I was blessed to have worked with her when she was the Pulaski County Bar President."
Cindy Smith | Conway, AR |

"Jack and Jane, you are in my thoughts and prayers. I will always remember working as Sandra's secretary when she was a Commissioner at the Public Service Commission. She was a wonderful and beautiful lady and I will never forget her.

Gwen Kelly North Little Rock, AR"

Gwen Kelly | No. Little Rock, AR |

"My thoughts and prayers are with you all. May the peace and grace of Christ sustain you at this and all times.
Christ's Peace
Michael Upson
Second Presbyterian Church"

Michael Upson | Little Rock, AR |

"I had the pleasure of knowning Sandra through the U.S. Attorney's Office. She was a very nice lady. My prayers are with the family."
Charles G. Williams | Springdale, AR |

"Sandra and I served on the Arkansas Community Foundation Board together and were both members of the Women's Foundation of Arkansas and Arkansas Women's Forum. I have admired her for many years and was fortunate enough through these commitments to really get to know her. I personally have lost a great friend that I respected tremendously. My prayers and thoughts are with you."
Sharon Allen | Little Rock, AR |

"Sandra was an elegant lady and wonderful role model. I will miss her greatly, but am blessed to have known her. My prayers are with her family."
Kathryn Whaley Searcy | Little Rock, AR |

"Jack and Jane. I wanted to you know how much I admired and cared for Sandra. I had the honor to work with her five years and in that time discovered a warm, intelligent, loving person with the greatest sense of humor. Even when she was going through the most trying medical times, her grace and poise never faltered. May your wonderful memories be a source of comfort. "
Elizabeth Thomas | White Hall, AR |

"I knew Sandra as a federal prosecutor, and the expertise and integrity she brought to our justice system will be greatly missed, as will her genuine concern for people, both professionally and personally. She was a true public servant and a role model for all of us to emulate."
Rebecca Fulper | Little Rock, AR |

"I've been the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Arkansas since October 2002. I've actually known Sandra since 1995 when I was previously assigned here. I can tell you I hold Sandra in the absolute highest regard. She was always a pleasure to deal with and her competence and tenacity were unequaled. Everyone here at the Bureau is devastated by her passing. You can rest assured that her entire family will remain in all our prayers. "
Bill Temple | Little Rock, AR |

"May your memory live on and each breeze be a reminder of your gentle spirit and the grace with which you walked among us."
Russ Berryhill | Little Rock , AR |

"So Sorry for your loss, she will be missed. Your in our thought and prayers."
Asst. Fire Chief LRFD Don Kinney & wife Susan | LIttle Rock, AR |

""Sandra was a truly great lady. I much enjoyed working with and visiting with her during my career. I was fortunate to have known her. Her family will be in my prayers."
Lucian R. Bramel U.S. Marshals Service, Retired | Sherwood, AR |

"A Woman of Valor
"â¦She invests herself with strength⦠she opens her hand to the poor and reaches out to the needyâ¦she is robed in strength and dignity and she smiles at the futureâ¦give her credit for the fruit of her labor and let her achievements praise her at the gates." (Proverbs 31: 10-31)"

Bob Kemins | Southlake, TX |

"Jane and Mr. Cherry,
I am so sorry for your loss. Sandra was such an amazing woman and had given so much to the legal profession and to the state of Arkansas. Beyond that, she was a truly special woman, who had the characteristics we should all strive to withhold. She will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by many. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time."

Whitney Lunt | Little Rock, AR |

"I can say only that I send my heartfelt love to you, Jack and Jane, in profound gratitude for the gift and grace of Sandra's friendship and affection of the past 41 years. The world and all the people she touched are in grief but yet now stand far richer in love and legacy for her many gifts. May God bless you and give you comfort, and know that I, and many you do not know, share your loss and grief even as we also shared the joy her life brought to us."
John A. Greenlee | Fairfax Station , VA |

" I remember once when an older male lawyer made a derogatory comment to Sandra about women in the courtroom just prior to her being called upon to make an argument in federal court. She laughed politely, patted him on the shoulder and then with her ever present dignity, stood and made the most persuasive argument in the courtroom. She won the argument, the case and everyone's respect. Her example as a person and a lawyer will not be forgotten. Cathy and my prayers are with you."
Terry L. Derden | Washington, DC |

"Dear Sandra's family: as another member of the "Lost Class of 59" and some one who always loved and respected Sandra, please know that she will be remembered by all of "us" as a sweet and dear person. It is so like her to establish a fund to honor Cita's daughter for her gift of life. Even though I haven't seen Sandra in a very long time, she is a big part of my growing up memories in Little Rock. I pray you are comforted by your memories.
Judi Rogers Clifford"

Judi Rogers Clifford | Hilton Head Island, SC |

"Sandra was the first woman attorney I worked for at the Public Service Commission when she served as Commissioner. She was a joy to work for as well as the kindest teacher I ever had. She taught me about the law and made my job much easier. I will miss her very much. My thoughts and prayers go to Jack and Jane and I hope they know how much she was loved by everyone who knew her."
Debbye Maxwell | Little Rock, AR |

"Sandra was a very special woman, and we were lucky to have known her. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jack and Jane."
Karen and Trey Whatley | Little Rock, AR |

"In this sad time my prayers go out to the family. Your and our loss are but a gain for the almighty."
Scotty E. Battershell | Harrison, AR |

"It was truly an honor and a privilege to have worked with Sandra while clerking at the U.S. Attorney's office. I will always remember her grace, class, and warmth. "
Dan Parker | North Little Rock, AR |

"Jack and Jane, I didn't get to know Sandra very well but I know she was loved by all who knew her. (Who could help but love her?) The funeral was a beautiful service and from what everyone said about her you can definitely see her hand in it. I grieve for your loss, but rejoice because she is now with God. I hope that thought brings you both much comfort. She is truly a treasure to remember. She didn't just have it all, she did it all with dignity, grace, perfection and love. God bless you both always and in all ways. I'm grateful for the time I did know her. In Christian love, Linda Jordan P.S. Jane you take after your mother. You did a wonderful job."
Linda Jordan | Mabelvale, AR |

"Jack and Jane, Sandra was a unique person. She had that upbeat attitude. When she was assigned to prosecute one of my investigations, I looked forward to it. I remember when we won the first tax fraud case in the Western District of Arkansas(Harrison) she was estatic. Jane , I don't know if you remember our daughter Belinda babysat you. Sandra was the best. My thoughts and prayers are with you."
Wayne Beardsley | Hot Springs, AR |

"My deepest sympathy to the family, friends, and colleagues of Sandra Cherry. She was my ninth-grade civics teacher at Southwest Junior High School. I remember her as someone who had all of the characteristics I value most in other human beings â kindness, intelligence, and humor. Although I had not maintained contact with her, nor followed her career over the years, her impact on my life was significant enough that my mother remembered her and notified me when she saw the obituary in the newspaper.
âi carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)â

Rosanna Ridings | St. Louis, MO |

"Jack, My condolences and prayers for you and your family.

Mark Cambiano | Morrilton, AR |

"Jack and Jane,
I was a childhood friend and classmate of Sandra's, a lovely person from our earliest youth. Several months ago I spoke with another of our childhood friends who told me of Sandra's illness. No one knows better than you what a wonderful, kind, sharing and just plain fun person Sandra has always been, and so gracious to the core of her being. Please accept my heartfelt condolences. (I regret this tardy message, but have just become aware of Sandra's death.)

Katherine Pearcy Raines | Cleburne, TX |

"I only recently learned of Mrs. Cherry's passing. I was one of her history students at Southwest Jr. High 1969-1970. That year, a science teacher at the school asked her students to evaluate her teaching, promising no retribution for honest opinions. She lied! I was called out of Mrs. Cherry's class to have my rear chewed out and be informed that in spite of her promise, my grade had been changed. Upon returning to Mrs. Cherry's classroom to pick up my books, she saw a scared, upset kid. It was her free period and she took the time to ask what had happened. She assured me that I had done nothing wrong and that sometimes adults just acted like jerks. I never forgot her kindness to me or the sparkle in her eyes when she laughed. What a wonderful person she was! How lucky I was to be in the small group of students she taught! She will remain in my prayers! Jack and Jane, I envy you for being able to spend your lives with her! "
Mike Tripp | Royal, AR |

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G. Larry Kelley | Little Rock, AR |

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