CHERYL HANNA - BURLINGTON - Our family is devastated by the untimely death of our beloved Cheryl Hanna, loving wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and mentor to so many. She was 48. Cheryl was a force of nature. She was compassionate and thoughtful, sweet and funny, brilliant and an inspiration to so many. Cheryl was cherished by our family - by our children, parents, siblings, extended family, and friends who have become family in the community of Vermont and beyond. Our lives are forever changed as we grieve the loss of our beautiful Cheryl. On behalf of our family, we send love to all who know our grief and who endeavor to sustain her shining light. Cheryl was born in Detroit, Mich., in the late 1960s into a large and loving Christian Palestinian family. She grew up in a working class neighborhood with a determined single mother that said one day she would attend Harvard or Yale Universities. She received her BA degree in sociology and anthropology, magna cum laude, from Kalamazoo College and her JD degree, cum laude, from Harvard University. Upon graduation, she served on the 1992 Clinton-Gore campaign and then as an assistant state's attorney in Baltimore before joining the Vermont Law School faculty in 1994. She also was visiting professor at the University of California-Hastings College of the Law and at Seattle University School of Law. While we mourn the loss of a very special woman, we also celebrate her remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to all to reach out to the less fortunate and to serve a cause greater than ourselves. For those who may ask what they can do to honor Cheryl, we have a simple request. Honor her example of selflessness and community service and her commitment to mentor and encourage young people. In her public life, Cheryl was known as compassionate advocate for people without voices; in her private life, she cherished her family. We are thankful to the many people who have reached out to us and have shared their prayers for her. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made in her memory to Women Helping Battered Women, P.O. Box 1535, Burlington, VT 05402.
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Published in The Burlington Free Press from July 30 to Aug. 5, 2014