Richard F. Cherry Profile Photo
1954 Richard 2023

Richard F. Cherry

September 1, 1954 — March 12, 2023


Richard Francis Cherry, better known as Rick, passed on from this life on Sunday, March 12, 2023 at Providence St. Patrick Hospital following a period of persistent health issues.

Born on September 1, 1954 in West Orange, New Jersey, Rick was the second child of Francis "Luke" and Patricia Cherry.   As a child, Rick's love of trucks, construction, and sports followed him throughout his life.  He attended Netcong High School where he played football and baseball, and greatly enjoyed his shop classes and tinkering on cars.  He was an avid pro-football fan supporting his favorite team - the New York Giants.  

His career in the phone company, then known as Ma Bell, began during his early high school years in NJ where his first job was with fleet maintenance.  In 1972 Rick had the opportunity to become a lineman, a career that would last him more than 45 years.  He was so good at what he did, shortly after his first retirement, he was contacted by Rocky Mountain Contractors to come back to work.  Loving what he did, he spent 10 more years as a lineman for them, finally retiring for good just a few years ago.  Rick was so well regarded in his community and with his co-workers, it wasn't hard to find him sporting his striped navy blue and white engineer's cap, red Carhart shirt and jeans; Rick took great pride in his work and truly enjoyed every aspect of his job and life.   

 In the late 70's while visiting a friend in Montana, Rick fell in love with the State and decided to venture west permanently, making Montana his home.  He met Velma Schwab at a restaurant in Miles City and it was love at first sight.  Rick and Velma made their life together and in the early 90's moved to Alberton, Montana where he purchased a large parcel of land, designed their home on a 3x5 spiral bound notebook and single-handedly built it as they also welcomed their son, Frankie Cherry Schwab, into their family.

An avid outdoorsman whether it was at the beach, horsebacking/hiking through the mountains, fishing, traveling, or just working any of his 25 acres surrounding his home, Rick was never short of projects.  He was someone who could do anything he put his mind to - a real jack of all trades.  One of Rick's favorite hobbies was working on old cars, typically Chevy's.  He was especially proud of his 1969 Stingray Corvette having 'survived' his teen years in it, driving too fast.

Rick will be remembered for his free spirit and quick wit. He will be greatly missed by the many people whose lives he touched over the years.  He gave of himself generously - his thoughtful ways and kindness have touched many.  It can be said that Rick was one of the lucky ones who truly lived his dream.

Rick leaves behind his loving wife of 40 years - Velma Schwab.  He is further survived by three beloved children:  Frankie Cherry-Schwab, Mike Schwab (and his wife Channa), and Nicky Schwab.  Nine adoring grandchildren remain:  Riley, Brian, Alyssa, Mykenzie, Kaden, Kazen, Ki, Arianna and Byson alongside his favorite canine companion - "Baby Jackie" - a three-year-old spunky black lab.  Aside from many other extended family and friends in NJ and here in Montana, Rick is survived by his sister Patty Cherry of Stanhope NJ.  

Rick was preceded in death by his parents Luke and Pat Cherry, both of NJ.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Rick Cherry's name to The Humane Society of Western Montana, 5930 US Highway 93 South, Missoula, MT 59804; 406.549.3934.

A celebration of Rick's life will be held over the summer at a future date.

He was, and will always remain, a great man, a loving husband, father, brother and friend - he will be greatly missed by so many.  He was so well loved.


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard F. Cherry, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, March 17, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Mountain time)

Garden City Funeral Home and Crematory

1705 W Broadway St, Missoula, MT 59808

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Mass

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Mountain time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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