Portsmouth’s First Citizen

For eighty-three years, the citizens of Portsmouth have honored an individual for his or her contributions to the Portsmouth community by naming that individual Portsmouth’s First Citizen.  The First Citizen Committee, comprised of all living previous honorees, is now accepting nominations for the First Citizen of Portsmouth 2018, to be honored in April 2019.

A Portsmouth First Citizen should be an individual who embodies the spirit of citizenship through his or her service to the community for the sole purpose of and in the spirit of giving.  This spirit is evidenced by an individual’s civic, charitable, and religious contributions to fellow citizens, the Portsmouth and Hampton Roads communities, the state and country without remuneration and over and above the pursuit of one’s chosen vocation.

Nominations are now closed for the First Citizen of Portsmouth 2018.  Stay tuned for more details about the banquet celebrating this year’s honoree!


The Portsmouth Service League hosted a banquet honoring last year’s First Citizen, B. “Ross” Cherry, at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel on April 26, 2018. 


Ross Cherry
Ross Cherry

Ross Cherry is a Portsmouth native where he attended Portsmouth Public Schools, graduating from Churchland High School in 1991. He then received a BS in Business Management from Clemson University before returning home to work in his family business, Cherry Carpet & Flooring in 1997. In 2007, he became COO and in 2009 was named President of the Portsmouth based company established in 1947. Ross has served on many boards for his industry to include the JJ Haines Dealer Council, Ardex Fuse Dealer Council and currently sits on the board of Fuse Alliance.

Besides having a passion for his industry, he also has one for his community. As a Lefcoe Leadership Graduate, Cherry has been active in various community organizations including serving as a board member of Girls, Inc., Churchland Swim Club and the People for Portsmouth PAC where he had several leadership positions. He also served on the 2025 Comprehensive Plan Committee for the City of Portsmouth. He is currently on the board of the Southeast Virginia Community Foundation and is President of The Portsmouth Partnership.

To recognize Ross Cherry’s generosity and service, and to encourage a spirit of civic-mindedness in others, the Portsmouth Service League invites everyone to join in this event. The First Citizen’s chosen beneficiaries for the 2017 event are NextGen Portsmouth Internship Program (program of Opportunity Inc.), Paradise Creek Nature Park (Elizabeth River Project) and the Portsmouth Service League’s scholarship fund.




Recent First Citizens of Portsmouth


 Mr. John G. Hatcher, Jr., 2016 First Citizen of Portsmouth









Lynn Mapp Wiggins, 2015 First Citizen of Portsmouth



 Richard Kendrick Huneycutt, 2014 First Citizen of Portsmouth



Richard E.H. Wentz, 2013 First Citizen of Portsmouth












 W. Carroll and Gloria M. Creecy, 2012 First Citizens of Portsmouth


Portsmouth's First Citizen











Cdr R. Malcolm Fortson III, USN (Ret.), 2011 First Citizen of Portsmouth


Former Portsmouth First Citizens

Past Portsmouth First Citizen Honorees

  • *The Hon. Norman R. Hamilton-1932
  • *John A. Morris-1939
  • *Edward W. Maupin, Jr.-1940
  • *The Rt. Rev. Msgr. F. Harold Nott-1941
  • *Frank D. Lawrence-1942
  • *RADM Felix X. Gygax, USN-1943
  • *George T. McLean-1944
  • *Thomas Alva Willett-1945
  • *The Hon. Lawrence W. I’Anson-1946
  • *Leslie T. Fox-1947
  • *Sol Fass-1948
  • *Maywood O. Lawrence-1949
  • *Abner B. Hill-1950
  • *The Hon. Porter Hardy, Jr.-1951
  • *Lewis C. Warren-1952
  • *The Rev. Ernest K. Emurian-1953
  • *J. Roy Rodman-1954
  • *O.B. Woolridge-1955
  • *Harry A. Hunt-1956
  • *The Rt. Rev. William A. Brown-1957
  • *Arthur J. Lancaster-1958
  • *Fred Beazley-1959
  • *Arthur Lee Cherry-1960
  • *Richard F. Wood-1961
  • *Russell Mills Cox, M.D.-1962
  • *George T. Ewell-1963
  • *Lester Lloyd Knight-1964
  • *John Tydings Nix-1965
  • *Wilfred Fleming Magann-1966
  • *Dr. Robert Monroe Campbell-1967
  • *The Hon. John Ashton MacKenzie-1968
  • E. Saunders Early, Jr.-1969
  • *Robert Murdaugh Reed-1970
  • *Mearl A. Kise, Ph. D.-1971
  • *Paul Curtis Stokley-1972
  • *The Hon. Richard J. Davis-1973
  • Herbert K. Bangel-1974
  • *P. Stockton Fleming-1975
  • *Emily Nichols Spong-1976
  • *Frank Langley Kirby-1977
  • *George Delman Eastes-1978
  • *Daniel W. Duncan Ph. D.-1979
  • *Robert William Wentz, Jr.,-1980
  • *RADM Jamie Adair, USN, Ret.-1981
  • *Emile S. Sayegh, M.D.-1982
  • *Peter Eustis-1983
  • Bradford L. Cherry-1984
  • *John Paul Conwell Hanbury-1985
  • *J. Herbert Simpson-1986
  • Anne Hyde Long-1987
  • W. Ashton Lewis-1988
  • P. Ward Robinett, Jr.,-1989
  • *Arthur J. Lancaster, Jr.-1990
  • Herbert A. Haneman, Jr.-1991
  • The Hon. Morton V. Whitlow-1992
  • Maury Wise Cooke-1993
  • Zelma Goodman Rivin-1994
  • Junius H. Williams, Jr.-1995
  • *J. Hunter Brantley, Jr.-1996
  • *Ernest F. Hardee-1997
  • Horace S. Savage, Jr.-1998
  • G. Robert Aston, Jr.-1999
  • David R. Tynch-2000
  • Michael J. Blachman-2001
  • Diane Pomeroy Griffin-2002
  • R. Scott Morgan-2003
  • Nancy Glisson Wren-2004
  • *Arthur A. Kirk, M.D.-2005
  • William H. Kline, Jr.-2006
  • *James W. Holley, III-2007
  • *Albert J. Taylor-2008
  • Donald W. Comer, Jr-2009
  • Robert T. Williams-2010
  • CDR R. Malcolm Fortson, III-2011
  • W. Carroll and Gloria M. Creecy-2012
  • Richard E. H. Wentz-2013
  • Richard K. Huneycutt-2014
  • Lynn Mapp Wiggins-2015
  • John G. Hatcher, Jr.-2016