Gloria Jean Banasiewicz Cherry, age 77 of Nashville left this world on Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021.
Gloria was born in Grenada, Miss., on Feb. 23, 1944, the daughter of John (deceased) and Ruth Banasiewicz.
She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Hughes Cherry.
Survivors include her daughters, Susannah Drake Beard & Emily Cherry Cary; siblings, John Thomas (Beverly) Banasiewicz, Kenneth (Marsha) Banasiewicz, Jennifer (Brian) Veit & Joseph (Susan) Banasiewicz; two very special grandchildren, Callie Beard and Walker Cary and many nieces and nephews.
Gloria was a nurse for 48 years, most of them caring for patients with cancer and their families. After graduating from the St. Thomas School of Nursing, she started her career at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, worked at St. Vincent’s hospital in Birmingham, Ala., returned to St. Thomas, and finished her career at Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville. She advanced from staff nurse, to nurse manager, program coordinator of oncology services, research project manager, and cancer information specialist. In every position, Gloria worked tirelessly to ensure every patient had the care, knowledge and support needed for their cancer journey.
Gloria founded the Middle Tennessee Camp Bluebird, a camp where adult persons with cancer spend the weekend receiving education, support, and encouragement in living life after a cancer diagnosis. Gloria loved connecting with every camper and often stayed up late into the night writing words of encouragement in each camper’s notebook. She told many stories of campers who shed their “patient” role during the weekend.
Gloria introduced the character “Krackers” the clown early in her career. Krackers taught nurses how to use humor in caring for their patients and coping with their own stress. Her company, CV Associates provided humor/play workshops for dozens of hospitals and companies. Krackers presented the key note address for the 1996 Oncology Nursing Society Fall Institute.
In 1995, Gloria was honored with the Lane Adams award, given to nurses demonstrating excellence in care for persons with cancer.
Throughout her career, Gloria facilitated support groups, organized cancer survivor celebrations, and volunteered with numerous community and professional organizations. She also enjoyed hosting friends and family, reading, writing poetry, all genres of music, dancing, road trips, movies, and spending time with her grandchildren. She will be missed by all whose lives she touched.
The family will receive friends from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday Jan. 8, 2021, at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home where a Celebration of Gloria’s life will be held at noon with Joe Ingle officiating. The family requests masks be worn and suggests purple clothing or accessories.
Expressions of sympathy may take the form of donations to Middle Tennessee Camp Bluebird in loving memory of Gloria Jean Banasiwicz Cherry. Ascension Saint Thomas Foundation, Middle Tennessee Camp Bluebird, 4220 Harding Road, Nashville, TN 37205 or www.campbluebirdnashville.org
WILLIAMSON MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME