Cherry Yarborough, devoted daughter
Cherry Yarborough called her 70-yearold widowed mother in North Baltimore every day.
In the morning: “Hi, Mom. I’m at work.” In the evening: “Mom, remember your medicine.”
When the phone didn’t ring Tuesday in Minnie Yarbough’s home, she knew something was wrong.
Yarbough would learn that her devoted daughter, the one who took her grocery shopping and bought her blouses and chocolates, was killed in the bus crash in Southwest Baltimore. The 51-year-old secretary was near the end of her commute to work.
Minnie Yarbough called and called her daughter’s desk at the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene office — no answer. She worried more and more.
Her daughter’s supervisor called back: There was a bus crash. There were people hurt.
“I said, ‘Mrs. Yarbough, I’m coming to get you,’” said Cynthia Petion, the supervisor. “Cherry is never late.”
Cherry Yarborough celebrated her 29th anniversary in the office two months ago with a catered lunch of Peruvian chicken — she paid for it all.
She would bring in homemade sweet potato pies and Cajun shrimp gumbo. At the Baltimore Book Festival each year, she would buy cookbooks and share recipes with her co-workers.
On Wednesday afternoon, Minnie Yarbough sat in the quiet, dim living room of her Parklane house just a mile from where her daughter also lived alone. Mother and daughter spelled their last names differently.
“I wish the Lord had taken me instead of her,” she said. “Who wants to lose a child? Whowants to lose a child? Tell me. Tell me.”
Cherry Yarborough was seven years older than her sister Tiffany Lewis, who lives in Florida. In childhood, she would baby-sit her younger sister. She was obedient, except that time she took all her father’s cold cut meats and made sandwiches for neighborhood children.
In adulthood, without a husband or children, she doted on her mother. She volunteered to work the registration table at Live Baltimore home-buying events. She and the other volunteers would swap their “transit stories.”
“She loved Baltimore City and she wanted to promote this as a place for more people to come and make their home,” Live Baltimore spokeswoman Annie Milli said.
Neighbor Romaine Peterson visited Minnie Yarbough’s house Wednesday to offer condolences.
“They were good babies,” Peterson said. “They didn’t run up and down the block.” Minnie Yarbough nodded. “When the street lights came on —” she began. “They came right in,” Peterson finished. The women have been neighbors more than 30 years. They raised their children together.
“God will bring you through this,” Peterson said. “You let me know. Whatever you need, you let me know.”
Minnie Yarbough nodded. The last time she spoke with her daughter was Monday evening. Cherry had called again to remind her mother of the medicine.
“She knew I was old and forgetful,” Minnie Yarbough said. They chatted on the phone as usual. “Bye, Mom,” Cherry Yarborough said, at the end. “Talk to you tomorrow.”