TRAVERSE CITY — Cheryl Diane Taylor, August 16, 1948 — Dec. 23, 2009, beloved wife and mother, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 61, after a prolonged battle with cancer.
Born Cheryl Johnson, she grew up on a dairy farm near Tustin, Mich., where she attended one of Michigan's last one-room schoolhouses from kindergarten through the eighth grade. From there, she proceeded to Pine River High School, where she became the school's inaugural participant in the Youth For Understanding overseas study program, spending the summer of 1965 near Dorotea, Sweden, an adventure which began a lifetime love affair with travel.
Cheryl graduated from Central Michigan University in 1970. It was there that she met her future husband, David Taylor. The two were set up on a blind date by mutual friends who knew they were both farm kids from "Up North" and thought their common rural roots might make them a perfect match. They were right. Cheryl and Dave were married the summer after they graduated from college and briefly served in the Peace Corps in India before the Vietnam War sent them to Washington D.C., where David was stationed as a clerk in the Pentagon.
When Dave's assignment ended, the couple returned to Michigan, where they settled down to raise a family. There, Cheryl worked as a school teacher for nearly 30 years, the majority of which were spent in the Flushing Community Schools. She used her hard-won summer vacations to earn a master's degree and spend time with her children.
Apart from her family and teaching, Cheryl's passion was music. She was a talented pianist and organist and served several churches in this capacity over many years. More recently, Cheryl took up the violin. Although her mastery of this instrument never reached the same level as that of the piano, she reveled in the challenge nonetheless.
After Cheryl retired from teaching, the Taylors fulfilled their longtime dream of moving back to northern Michigan by building a home on Traverse City's Old Mission Peninsula, a place where Cheryl's mother had enjoyed picking cherries as a child and the natural beauty of which the two found stunning. Cheryl bought a sailboat and her favorite retirement activity was spending lazy summer afternoons cruising the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay while directing her first mate, Dave.
Cheryl is survived by her husband, David; and daughter, Kristen, both of Traverse City; her son, Matthew of Los Angeles; her mother, Paulina Johnson of Tustin; her sister, Elaine Johnson of Houston, Texas; and her brother, Joseph Johnson of Tustin.
She was preceded in death by her father, Lawrence Johnson.
Cheryl will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, Dec. 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., at Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, Traverse City. Memorial services will be held Wednesday, Dec. 30, at 11 a.m., with visitation one hour prior, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Traverse City.
The family requests that anyone wishing to make a memorial donation contact the V Foundation for Cancer Research at www.jimmyv.org.
Kindly share memories with the family on Cheryl's online guest book at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The family is being served by the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, Traverse City.
This obituary was originally published in the Record-Eagle.