June 5, 2022, 71, Panama City, FL
On Sunday, June 5, 2022, Kay J. Cherry, 71, of Panama City, Florida passed away after a final fight with breast cancer. Born on Bastille Day in 1950, she exemplified a life of love for family, friends, and laughter. A farm girl from the Nahunta area of North Carolina, Kay was the oldest born to James Ray and Irene Johnson. She was the first in her family to graduate college with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with an emphasis in horticulture in 1973 from Atlantic Christian College. Her attention then turned to raising her two children, Matt and Katie. She and her family lived all over the southeast building life-long friendships through church and community involvement. After finally settling in Panama City, FL for the last 26 years, Kay worked as a financial advisor for Edward Jones for several years before retirement. She also took on a passion project in 2014 becoming involved in the restoration of the 1877 schooner, Governor Stone.
In 2005, her two greatest joys arrived and made her the most excited “GiGi” ever, her grandsons Tanner and Dylan. As she did with her own children, she instilled in them a love for cooking, both knowing how to make the best homemade buttermilk pancakes before the age of three. Her favorite moments were having her family over for dinner with the boys helping in the kitchen. She was so proud of them, cheering the loudest at any football or baseball game and never missing an opportunity to hug them and tell them she loved them.
She loved to explore the local state parks with her significant other of 7 years, Donald Fox. Both searching out great photography shots, good food, and even better wines in their adventures. Her horticulture skills were never abandoned; they both worked diligently making their backyard a garden sanctuary. Most mornings were spent on the back porch sipping coffee, sending supportive notes via text to family and friends, and reading the latest book for her next book club gathering before getting her hands in the flowerbeds again.
Kay is survived by her two children, son Matthew Cherry, wife Angela, and daughter Katie Cherry, several cats. Her two grandchildren, Dylan Cherry and Tanner Cherry, sons of Mathew and Angela. She is also survived by her mother Irene Johnson and her brother Perry Johnson, wife Monica. Proceeded in death by her father James Ray Johnson.
A graveside services will be held at Evergreen Cemetery, 3888 US-70, Goldsboro, NC 27530 on June 14th at 2:00 PM. A celebration of life in Panama City, Florida will be communicated and held on a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to the current Governor Stone restoration project www.governorstone.org/donate.
Never turn down the opportunity to set sail on a historical schooner or get up and dance.