2024 Regular Session

To: Rules

By: Representatives Calvert, Smith, Horne, Young

House Resolution 105


     WHEREAS, Mrs. Cheryl "Cheri" Merritt Barry, the loving and vibrant jewel of the Barry Family as well as a political pioneer, as she was the City of Meridian's first and only female mayor, departed this earthly life, at the age of 68, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2023, to be in the presence of the Lord, surrounded in love by her family and friends; and

     WHEREAS, Mrs. Barry, who was affectionally referred to as "YaYa" by many  -  which is a doting name that was given to her by her grandchildren - was born on April 19, 1955, to her parents, George and Jean Merritt, and was reared in love, along with her older brother, Greg, and younger sister, Jeanna; and 

     WHEREAS, knowing the importance of earning an education, Mrs. Barry graduated from Lamar High School, where she was an outstanding member of the softball team, where her innate nature of teamwork later used in her life during her service to others, shone through as she was known for her fierce pitching skills; and

     WHEREAS, after high school, Mrs. Barry began her college career at Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, before attending the University of Mississippi, where she met the love of her life, Rick, whom she would go on to unite in holy matrimony on August 6, 1977; and

     WHEREAS, aptly described as one who never met a stranger, Mrs. Barry, who had always immersed herself in helping the Meridian community, even as a youth, also had a huge place in her heart for those with special needs, and she made it one of her missions to always make them feel included, which is a wonderful testament of her kind and beautiful soul; and

     WHEREAS, Mrs. Barry's professional career was mainly in public service, where she worked with the Lafayette and Lauderdale County welfare systems and focused on children and geriatric abuse victims; and 

     WHEREAS, blessed with a "get it done" attitude, when it came to serving others, Mrs. Barry selflessly served with her local Red Cross chapter and helped during Hurricane Katrina by facilitating restoration of the counties served by the American Red Cross Key Chapter, and she served as the Executive Director of Key Chapter during the 9/11 tragedy; and

     WHEREAS, Mrs. Barry later served as the Executive Director of the Rush Foundation and helped raise money to distribute to the families of hospital employees and vendors in time of need, and she even revamped the Rush Gift Shop by generously using her expertise in retail, which she gained from her parents as they were the owners of several businesses, most notably, Bonnie Jeans and BJ's Alley, which she later owned and managed; and

     WHEREAS, after making significant contributions with the Red Cross and the Rush Foundation, Mrs. Barry made the ultimate contribution by serving as the mayor of the City of Meridian from 2009 through 2013, where she led the charge in making several improvements in the Queen City; and 

     WHEREAS, Mrs. Barry, while serving as mayor, made various accomplishments during her administration, some of which are as follows:  completion of the renovations of the city hall; improvements of the 22nd Avenue overpass; constructed two city fire stations; relocated the police department and the city partnered with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in which they had several collaborations, one of which is the current city hall lawn Christmas tree; and

     WHEREAS, due to her outstanding community service, Mrs. Barry received various awards such an being named Junior Auxiliary Humanitarian of the Year and The Meridian Star's Woman of the Year, and although she loved serving her community, one of her greatest joys was spending time with her wonderful and adoring family; and

     WHEREAS, Mrs. Barry, who was a lifelong believer, found comfort by remembering her beloved Psalm 46:10 - "Be still, and know that I am God . . ."  and she found comfort by knowing that God was her refuge and her strength; and

     WHEREAS, the memories of Mrs. Barry will continue to flourish in the hearts and minds of her loved ones, some of whom include:  her mother, Jean Carol Rosenbaum Merritt; husband of 46 years, John Richard "Rick" Barry; children, Jennifer Barry Fowler, Jay Richard Barry and John Merritt Barry; siblings, Greg Alvin Merritt and Jean Merritt Bennett; grandchildren, George Bass Fowler, Avery Fowler, John Hayes Fowler, Georgia Leigh Barry and John Carr Barry and a host of other loved ones and friends, who will forever treasure the wonderful and fine example of a life that she lived as well as the pearls of wisdom she so freely shared throughout her 68 years of blessed life; and

     WHEREAS, it is the policy of the House of Representatives to honor the life of a selfless public servant such as Mrs. Barry whose service to her community and the City of Meridian will be treasured for generations to come:

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby commend the life, legacy and contributions of Mrs. Cheryl "Cheri" Merritt Barry and extend sincerest sympathy upon her passing to her family and many friends.

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this resolution be furnished to the family of Mrs. Cheryl "Cheri" Merritt Barry and to the members of the Capitol Press Corps.