+Brother George Cherrie, O.F.M.Conv. (1936-2019)
Brother George Edmond Cherrie, Jr., O.F.M.Conv., passed into the loving embrace of God on Easter, April 21st after a long, eventful and complete life. He was born February 27, 1936 in Ross, CA, to George, Sr., and Geraldine (Bachelor) Cherrie. His Protestant parents sent him to Saint Vincent Ferrer Catholic School for grades seven through twelve. His interest in Catholicism developed there and he was baptized on September 4, 1947.
Brother George, as he was known to most, worked for a year after graduation and then entered the Maryknoll Seminary for two years. Returning to San Francisco, he started his long career with the Bank of America as a teller in 1957. The Bank transferred him to Buenos Aires, Argentina, as an international trainee in 1964. In 1965, Mr. George Cherrie became the Manager of Branch Operations in Lima.
A year later he married Maria Isabel Laporte. They had a daughter Laura in 1968. George and Maria also adopted his niece and nephew, Kathleen and Michael McKenna.
In a letter, a vice president with the Bank of America described his career for the Franciscan Provincial. “After a distinguished 35-year career, George Cherrie retired from the Bank of America in May 1993. George joined the Bank in May 1958 and served in various positions in domestic bank operations until his transfer to Buenos Aires in 1964. From that date until 1985, he served the Bank in positions of increasing responsibility throughout Latin America. George eventually rose in the organization to the position of Senior Vice President for operations and control, Latin America/Caribbean Division. Following a two-year tenure as head of Human Resources and Administration for our World Banking Group, George became General Auditor for the Bank of America in 1987. As General Auditor, he reported directly to the Chief Executive Officer and the Board of Directors.
“While his was a notable and distinguished career, ultimately reaching one of the highest positions in the Bank, George is remembered here by many as a kind and caring man who gave generously of himself to help others. He is a man of unquestionable integrity and a person who remains true to his convictions. He has a great sense of humor and quiet dignity.
“George’s good work extends far beyond the Bank and into our community as shown by the numerous commendations he has received from organizations with whom he has worked, including non-profit social service providers as diverse as San Francisco Suicide Prevention, the United Way, Visiting Nurses and Hospice, and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. However, even more poignant than this recognition are the many personal thanks received from people whom George has quietly helped. Some examples of his acts of personal kindness are witnessed by the letter from a woman George helped cope with the death of a loved one with AIDS and the letter to our Chief Executive Officer signed by 77 employees grateful that a critically ill employee was flown across the country in a corporate jet for treatment—a flight arranged by George. Ultimately, it is these many acts of kindness for which George is best remembered.”
In this atmosphere of service, Brother George began to realize that he wanted to join a religious order—to return to the original call of more than thirty years before. He “found the major satisfaction and opportunities for spiritual and personal growth were coming from my volunteer activities and ministry to others.” “I have always held the Franciscan Order in high regard, and believe there is much I could give and more I could receive. My family is aware of this desire on my part and is supportive.”
He began has life with the Franciscan Friars in 1992. George made his first profession of religious vows on July 30, 1995 and his lifetime profession on August 22, 1999. He continued to be active in social ministries as well as beginning to fulfill important roles in the Franciscan community.
Brother George began to work with the pastoral care department of Saint Mary’s Medical Center as a volunteer in the early 1990s. He completed a program of training as a chaplain, being certified by the National Association of Catholic Chaplains. The Medical Center entrusted him with greater responsibility for the spiritual needs of the patients. In September 2001, he was Executive Director, Mission Services and Facilities; in 2002 he became Director of Mission Services. Eventually George was named Vice President for Mission, Community Services, and Facilities, retiring in 2015.
At the same time the Franciscan Order was entrusting Brother George with various duties. He worked at Saint Paul Parish, San Pablo, as a Pastoral Associate in the late 1990s. In 2005, he was named the superior of the Friars at Saint Paul of the Shipwreck Parish in San Francisco – a position he held until 2015. From 1995 until 2018 he held various positions overseeing the finances of the Franciscans from general responsibilities to Assistant Treasurer to Treasurer. He served several terms as Councilor to the Provincial (the top Franciscan manager in a geographical area). In 2015 he returned to Saint Paul Parish in San Pablo to assist with business operations.
George remained dedicated to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, to the spiritual care of AIDS patients and to the annual San Francisco AIDS Walk, in which he walked more than twenty times and raised more than $150,000 by walking. He was frequently called upon to assist various organizations in their fundraising, awards ceremonies, etc.
An avid tennis and racquetball player, he would rejoice in being able to defeat younger opponents (often much younger). Amid all this activity, he remained an enthusiastic conversationalist, even as his body began to decline.
In addition to the Conventual Franciscan Friars of Saint Joseph of Cupertino Province, Brother George is survived by his daughter Laura Cherrie, his son Michael McKenna (Eva) and his daughter Kathleen Quackenbush (Jack).
Visitation is scheduled to begin at 4 pm, followed by a vigil service at 7pm, at Saint Paul Parish in San Pablo, CA, on May 10th. His funeral Mass will be celebrated at Saint Paul of the Shipwreck Parish, in San Francisco, CA at Noon, on May 11th. He will be laid to rest in the Friars’ Cemetery in Arroyo Grande, CA, on Monday, May 13th at Noon.
Listen to the Homily/Eulogy by Fr. Paul Gawlowski OFM Conv.