They’re All Tied Together with One of Kansas City’s Most Giving Hearts
While Deron Cherry made an impressive name for himself on the football field, it is the legacy he has created off the field that has given him true purpose in life.
Story by Ann Butenas | Photos by Gary Rohman
Although it has been several years since Deron Cherry, known as one of the best free safeties to ever grace a football field, has played in the NFL, his name still carries significant weight around Kansas City and beyond. There is no doubt that in his 11-years with the Kansas City Chiefs, he proved to have the athletic prowess of which legends are born. Yes, there are quite a few bragging rights in this man’s arsenal, including (but not limited to!) six Pro Bowl selections from 1983-1988; 5-time All-Pro; five-time first team All-AFC and two-time 2nd team All-AFC selection. Additionally, he ranks third on the Chiefs list with the most interceptions and was selected to the Chiefs 25-year All-Time Team and was Chiefs NFL Man of the Year in 1987.
Before coming to Kansas City, Cherry played high school football in New Jersey and then transitioned to Rutgers University, where he honed his talents as a free safety and punter, earning MVP honors in 1979 and 1980. One year later, he signed with the Chiefs as a free agent punter before being released in the final cut. By September of that year, he rejoined as a safety and the rest, well, is what makes for great football stories that last for generations. After retirement in 1992, he still kept his finger on the pulse of the NFL by becoming a limited ownership partner in the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995 but has since sold that ownership piece.
While a page-turning book could be written about all of his professional accomplishments, Deron presents as a man who would much prefer to keep the spotlight off of himself and instead use his celebrity for a greater good. Humble, down-to-earth and kind-hearted, he is a man who truly likes to make others feel right at home in his presence, as he clearly gives everyone the complete freedom to simply be themselves.
One could argue that Deron has an even greater story off the field, one that continues to be an integral part of his legacy. Just like a safety in a game of football metaphorically wears many hats in the line of defense, essentially using his multi-tasking abilities to corner and cover, Deron has transitioned those skills into a different arena, still multi-tasking and using multiple talents to cover so many worthwhile endeavors. He was without a doubt a go-getter on the field, and now off the field, he is a go-giver, dedicating an appreciable amount of his time to numerous charitable organizations.
“During my football career, it was important to me to be the first one on the field and the last one off the field when it came to practicing and working hard,” expressed Deron. Today, he still champions that unwavering work ethic, transitioning it to something even more meaningful.
Among the many endeavors to which he and his family have given their time, talent and resources include the Special Olympics, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Project Warmth, and the United Negro College Fund. Further, for the past 24 years, Deron has held a charity golf tournament – The Deron Cherry Celebrity Invitational – at the Tom Watson Signature 18 Course at Loch Lloyd Country Club benefitting two additional charities that have a special place in his heart: Score 1 for Health and Camp Quality. And if that was not enough, Deron is one of the founders of the soon-to-be Gateway Village in Grandview, Missouri, a mixed-used sporting complex that will be the largest amateur sporting facility in Missouri and will also be home for offices, hotels, dining, retail and residential units.
The 2016 Deron Cherry Celebrity Invitational
Deron is also dedicated to his family, which includes wife Hope and their children: Austin, Isaiah, Isabella and Lillian. It is clear that no greater love exists between Deron and Hope and the affection they have for one another and for their children is palpable. Family time is a top priority for this crew, and that translates to either the hustle and bustle of daily life as they taxi from one activity to another or simply load up in the family RV and head off to something exciting like experiencing the Daytona 500 or making their passports their favorite books.
Now that the holidays are upon us, the Cherry family takes full advantage of making this time of year one of the best times, as evidenced by the full-scale holiday decorations spread throughout their beautiful home. It’s no secret that Christmas is the favorite time of the year for Hope and it shows in every nook, cranny and corner in this gorgeous southern-style plantation home nestled in Greenwood, Missouri.
“I love the Gone with the Wind appeal of our home, as it reminds me of my native home back in Georgia,” expressed Hope.
Boasting roughly 8,500 square feet of luxurious yet equally comfortable living space on four levels, complete with six bedrooms and seven bathrooms, man cave (of course!), large pond and 11 sprawling acres, the Cherry family can enjoy such delights as four-wheeling, fishing and so much more.
During the holidays, Deron and Hope adorn most of the home in its festive Christmas attire, with red primarily dominating the color scheme. While some might think the color is a nod to the Chiefs, it actually leans more towards Hope’s color palette preferences.
“I love red,” she smiled. “It’s my favorite color.”
With the decorations both inside and outdoors all in place by Thanksgiving, the family has several weeks to relax in its beauty and prepare for the excitement of the holidays, where family and friends complete the guest list of ongoing festivities.
While typically the Cherry family installs about seven Christmas trees throughout their home, this year they have narrowed it down to just a few.
“We normally have a tree in the dining room,” noted Hope. But this year in its place is an all-white Santa Clause figure, an heirloom acquired from her mom. “I move this piece from room to room each year.”
When you cross the threshold into the home from the front door, you are greeted by a magnificent staircase, all decked out for the occasion and the first room you see from there is the tremendous great room, complete with a warm and cozy fireplace that holds its own intimate and cozy appeal despite the 25-foot ceiling. With four fireplaces total throughout the home, there is plenty of space available for everyone to warm their toes and enjoy a hot cup of cocoa before Santa arrives.
Contiguous to the Great Room is the kitchen and hearth room, where daily family gatherings remain the heartbeat of the space.
“This is where we spend the most time,” noted Deron. “We hang out here with the kids and they also do their homework here most of the time.”
But with the holidays upon us, homework might be the last thing on the kids’ minds.
“We go all out at Christmas,” smiled Hope. “We spend Christmas Eve with our family at their homes and then come home, put the kids to bed, and Deron and I stay up late wrapping all their gifts.”
Nodding in agreement, Deron added, “Oh, yeah. She goes all out for the kids.”
Even though he no longer dons a Chiefs uniform, Deron is still well suited for Kansas City and has found his home here in the heartland.
“We really love Kansas City,” he expressed. “The atmosphere and the people are all wonderful. I often tell my friends who live in other cities that if they came here, they, too, would fall in love with it. There is not a better place in my eyes, especially to raise children, than Kansas City.”
Interior Design and Outside Holiday Decorations: Surface to Surface Interior Design/Construction