David Allen Cherry, 66, Altoona, passed away Sunday at Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh.
He was born in Altoona, son of the late W. Leroy and Grace (Whitfield) Cherry.
Surviving are his wife of 41 years, Cheryl (Litzinger); a daughter, Christa L. (Cherry) Chilcote and husband, David S. Jr., of Hollidaysburg; and two step-grandchildren: Ryder and Erica Chilcote.
Dave was a 1964 graduate of Altoona High School and a band member at the time they won the Cherry Blossom Festival Award. He next graduated from the U.S. Navy School of Music and went on to perform around the world while serving onboard the USS Randolph, Saratoga and Essex during the Vietnam War.
After completing his service, he graduated from the music program at York Junior College and attended Mansfield College. In 1971, he rejoined the Navy Band, stationed in Groton, Conn., and then Newport, R.I. During the Navy and American Bicentennials and Tall Ships Event, he performed for many ceremonies, including one attended by Queen Elizabeth. As a member of the Navy rock band "Long Island Sound," he toured the Eastern seaboard. Other Northeast Navy groups he belonged to were Ninth House, Windjammers and Dominguez '75. His major instruments were sax, clarinet, piano/keyboard, acoustic/electric guitar and vocals.
In 1976, Dave returned to civilian life in Altoona, being first employed at Catholic Charities Children's Center for Special Learning, then at Ebensburg Center, where he received a state commendation for creating a music therapy program. He retired in 2003.
Local bands with which he played included Sunrise/Crossroads, Legends and Quick Picks. Eventually Dave began performing with his daughter, Christa, as a duo, Big Daddy and Baby Blue Eyes. In addition to his musical talents, he was an expert pool and trick shot shooter. He was a great dog lover who never missed an opportunity to rescue a stray. He was of a gentle, outgoing, generous and compassionate nature and was known for his humor. Some of his other interests were fly-tying, fishing, NASCAR and, more recently, cooking for family parties.
A service in celebration of Dave's life will be held at a later date. Interment will be in Grandview Cemetery, Altoona.
A music scholarship is being established in Dave's name. Donations may be made to AAHS Scholarship Fund in memory of David A. Cherry and directed to the Principal's Office, Altoona Area High School, 1415 Sixth Ave., Altoona, PA 16602.
Arrangements are by Gibbons Funeral Home, Ashville.