Portsmouth’s First Citizen

For 83 years, the citizens of Portsmouth have honored an individual for his or her contributions to the community by naming that individual Portsmouth’s First Citizen. Portsmouth’s First Citizens are individuals who embody the spirit of citizenship through 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. Each year the public is encouraged to submit nominations for the award and a First Citizen Committee, comprised of the former First Citizens, makes a final selection.

The Portsmouth Service League will hold a banquet honoring this year’s First Citizen, B. “Ross” Cherry, at the Renaissance Portsmouth Hotel on April 26, 2018. The banquet, presented by the Portsmouth Service League, is open to the public and includes a cocktail hour at 6:00 PM, followed by dinner and award ceremony at 7:00 PM.

Sponsorship information is available here.

For ticket purchases or more information, please email malloryttuttle@gmail.com or sgiacometti826@gmail.com.


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