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Ronald G. Cheek Sr.

February 13, 1934 ~ January 21, 2021 (age 86)


Ronald Garfield Cheek of Dresher, PA, passed away on Thursday, January 21, 2021 at the age of 86. He was born in Abington, PA on February 13th,1934 to Olivia Valloria Gassaway of Baltimore and John Henry Cheek of Philadelphia.

  Fiercely independent, Ronald insisted on riding his mower to cut his own lawn, doing his own appliance repairs, and, despite some muscle weakness from a stroke some years ago, driving himself to get his own groceries and breakfast each morning.  He could often be found enjoying classic tunes on his front porch on a warm afternoon.


  Ronald appreciated the value of a dollar, learning entrepreneurship early-on selling freshly-caught fish beside his father.


   Working as a machinist, landscaper, then contractor, he was able to purchase his first home at 19 years old.  Walking four miles daily to a superior grammar school across town, he learned the value of a good education, and went on to found the Cheek Children’s Center in Germantown, Philadelphia.  It was the first early education center of its kind, addressing an underserved community and producing generations of academically-accomplished graduates.


  Ronald was a charming man, who bonded with the waitress at the local diner, or the agent bagging his groceries at the market.  He met and married Dominga De Jesus in 1953, and had sons Ronaldo, Carlos, and Anthony.  Later, he married Shirley Klein, and had a daughter, Rhonda.  Together they opened the pre-school. He was married to Charlene Barbour of Philadelphia in 1993.


  Savvy in real estate, he established a number of rental properties in the Greater Philadelphia area.  He was generous with his resources, and ensured access to tenants who could not afford inflated rents elsewhere.


  In addition to his legacy as an educator, benefactor, and mentor, Ronald leaves behind his adult children, grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. He will be interred at Whitemarsh Cemetery in Ambler, PA.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ronald G. Cheek Sr., please visit our floral store.


Public Viewing
February 3, 2021

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Bruce R. Hawkins Funeral Home
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania 19126-2844

Celebration of Life
February 3, 2021

11:00 AM
Bruce R. Hawkins Funeral Home
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania 19126-2844


Whitemarsh Memorial Park
1169 Limekiln Pike
Ambler, PA 19002

Please note
SECOND UPDATE: Due to the continuous poor weather conditions, and expected icy conditions tomorrow (Tuesday), the Cheek funeral has again been postponed to Wednesday, 2/3, in the interest of everyone's safety. Viewing and service times remain the same. We pray that you remain safe and apologize for any inconvenience. Please be advised that only those guests invited by the family will be permitted to stay for the Celebration of Life service. All guests are expected to wear masks and observe proper social distancing practices. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.
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