Bernard Cherry, a retired pharmacist who owned and operated a popular Northeast Baltimore drugstore where for a half-century he always had a story for his customers, died Monday of heart failure at Sinai Hospital. He was 81.
In 1938, Mr. Cherry opened Cherry's Prescription Pharmacy at Harford Road and Moravia Boulevard. In addition to filling prescriptions, he dispensed plenty of advice along with ice cream sodas and snowballs until he retired and closed the store in 1992.
"Was he a well-liked man," said Charles H. Edenfield, who first went to work for Mr. Cherry as a 16-year-old delivery boy making $1.25 per shift and later became a "fountain boy" and eventually a pharmacist there.
"We watched many generations of families walk through the store," Mr. Edenfield said. He worked in the store for 50 years and still works as a pharmacist at age 70.
"Bernie operated one of the last of the old-time Baltimore drugstores," he said.
Located at a No. 19 streetcar stop, the store attracted crowds that not only had prescriptions filled but lingered over a handmade milkshake or snowball while exchanging neighborhood gossip.
"We made our own syrups, and I think we had the best chocolate syrup in Baltimore in those days. We sold nickel Coca-Colas and snowballs and milkshakes for 35 cents. We made a hummer of a milkshake," Mr. Edenfield said.
Known as "The Mayor of Harford Road," Mr. Cherry supported an American Legion baseball team and never turned down a request from a local church or charity that was arranging a fund-raiser or bazaar. He also was known for encouraging his teen-age employees to get an education.
"Two-thirds of his fountain boys went on to become priests or ministers," said his son, Dr. Joel M. Cherry of Pikesville.
Polly Papania, who worked in the drugstore for 26 years as a self-described "jack of all trades," said, "He got the nickname of Dr. BooBoo from my husband, John, because he was always crying for his winnings from the racetrack. Those two were like brothers."
Mrs. Papania, a Hamilton resident, who described Mr. Cherry as "a fine man," said that for years the two families shared Christmas Day together.
"He was Jewish but loved Christmas. In fact, our families were so close that my children called him Uncle Bernie. It was such a pleasure to have known him."
Born and raised in South Baltimore, he was a 1932 graduate of City College and graduated from the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy in 1936.
He was a member of the city zoning commission, the Baltimore Retail Druggist Association, the Maryland Pharmacy Association, the American Pharmacy Association and the National Association of Retail Druggists.
He was a member of Bonnie View Country Club, Cassia Lodge No. 45 AF&AM; and the Yetz Grotto. He was a member of Beth El Synagogue.
Services for Mr. Cherry will be held at 11 a.m. today at Sol Levinson and Bros. Home, 6010 Reisterstown Road.
Other survivors include his wife of 58 years, the former Dora Summers; a daughter, Linda C. Richman of Stevenson; five grandchildren; and two great-grand-children.