Cheryl Melby MacKrell
1940 - 2021
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MacKrell, Cheryl Melby 3/28/1940 - 2/27/2021 Ann Arbor, Michigan Cheryl Melby MacKrell, 80, a woman who wore many hats in the Ann Arbor community, passed at her home on Saturday, February 27, 2021. Nee Cheryl Callahan, daughter of Ruth Tice Callahan and Allen Callahan, she was raised in Ann Arbor and had especially fond memories of her grandfather, George "Pop" Tice. Ms. MacKrell graduated from Ann Arbor High School, received her BA in 1961 from the University of Iowa and then, in 1966, completed an MA in French Literature at the University of Michigan. A committed and creative teacher, she taught French at Pioneer High School where she was known as Madame Melby. Music was a life-long love of Ms. MacKrell's and she was a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church choir. She met her first husband, James Melby, at Interlochen. They were married in 1959 and she is survived by their two children, Katherine Melby (married to Bret Huntman) of Petoskey, Michigan and Thomas Melby of Durham, North Carolina. She is also survived by her two grandchildren, James and Emily Huntman. Her great-grand daughter, Aniyah Williams, was a light of her last months. She met her second husband, John MacKrell, at church choir. They married in 1987 and, together, enjoyed many years singing both at the church and in the University of Michigan Choral Union. Mr. MacKrell survives his wife. Ms. MacKrell made many contributions to the Ann Arbor community as a volunteer. She was among the organizers of teach-ins for the first Earth Day and an early volunteer with Recycle Ann Arbor. She contributed her talents to local, state, and national political campaigns and served on the Barton Hills Village Council. In retirement much of her volunteer work served the Clements Library, particularly as part of a team cataloging culinary works for the Longone Center for American Culinary Research. She was an excellent cook in her own right and enjoyed serving "peasant food" for family and friends. Her loves of the arts, food, and French culture met in a crescendo when the MacKrell's hosted a dinner for the cast of the Theatre de la Ville (of Paris, France) after the troupe performed Rhinoceros-a play by Ionesco which she taught many times-in Ann Arbor. Ms. MacKrell was also previously a member of the boards of the Friends of the University of Michigan Art Museum and the Friends of the University of Michigan Libraries. Ms. MacKrell collected antiques-a passion she shared with her mother and with Mr. MacKrell. She was a member of the area's Questers group and found creative expression in decorating her beloved home in Barton Hills. She also was an elegant and eclectic dresser. As a comfort to those who mourn Cheryl MacKrell, the family offers the following mauling of the lyrics of one of her favorite pieces of music, the Brahms German Requiem, Opus 45: II. Drawing from the Christian Bible, James 5:7 and Isaiah 35:10, it conveys that, "Those who are patient unto the coming of the Lord shall return with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; sorrow and sighing shall flee away." A memorial gathering is being planned for the spring. Muehlig's, Ann Arbor

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Published in Ann Arbor News from Mar. 5 to Mar. 7, 2021.
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10 entries
March 19, 2021
Cheryl and I remained friends through all the years since our children first enjoyed the neighborhood functions of Lookout Circle. We recently had satisfied our souls with long phone conversations to reminisce and keep up with family, friends and travels. I will so miss her and am sending love to John, Kate, Tom and their families. May we all remember our wonderful times, the celebrations and quiet moments spent together. Kaye and Mike Brabec
Kaye and Mike Brabec
Friend
March 12, 2021
Cheryl was my very close friend and I so so miss her. I still can clearly hear her vouce like how she would always greet me at the door or phone call. I'm going to miss how her and Ginger would come visit me while I was in the gardens at the house. I met Cheryl and John at a 2009-2010 New Years Eve. Party. by my husband Niel Rishoi and I was instantly impressed by Cheryl and her Culinary intrests and knowledge of Wine. Being a retired Sous Chef we hit it off. She was so classy but never a snob. Also real not a fake bone in her body. We had so many great conversations that I will never firgot as she taught me very much about art. Also a active person in the community who wore many hat's. As for hats last Summer she was showing me some if her Vintage Hats and dresses. Anyhow she found one that fit me perfect and I look like a Norman Rockwell Farmer and love it and it keeps me cool. I have nothing but good memories and so happy shes at peace even though its heartbreaking for me but for so many others who she knew and loved. And as Cheryl would end a goodbye was Cheri-Bie. So Cheri-Bie my dear friend.
Love, Ron Rishoi
Ronald Rishoi
Friend
March 10, 2021
I always looked forward to seeing Cheryl at our Quester meetings. She was always interesting.
Fondly, Susan Hickey
Susan K. Hickey
Friend
March 7, 2021
I am so sorry to hear the news of Cheryl's passing. She and I were the best of buddies from 5th grade at Pittsfield School, 1949 onwards. At the age of 11, I thought of her as my "girlfriend". I lived in the former EAST Ann Arbor, and she was right next door in Pittsfield Village. Those were the peaceful, happy, secure, fun days of the late 1940s. She always remembered the time when the teacher sent us to work on posters in the Pittsfield School utility area and always mentioned it when we talked ... sadly not frequently enough. Also sadly, I did not recall working on those posters. Fortunately, I called her just a few months ago, and we joyously recalled our elementary and high school days. Cheryl was, indeed a real "peach", and the world is diminished by her passing. I send deepest condolences to her husband and family, but I'm also sure she's busy singing, teaching French, and preparing her delicious "peasant food" in God's Gardens. Jim Bailey, Fremont, IN
Jim Bailey
Classmate
March 7, 2021
One of the great Ann Arbor teachers!
— Stan Bidlack, Huron High
Stan Bidlack
Coworker
March 7, 2021
John, you have my sympathy and prayers
Mike Richards
Friend
March 6, 2021
Cheryl Callahan MacKrell and I go all the way back to Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor where we shared so many fun times with lots of friends.
We have kept in touch all these years, since high school, and she was always so happy and upbeat. I will forever miss her saying "CHERRY BYE" when we ended our telephone conversations.
Dea Mast Knopf
Friend
March 5, 2021
Cheryl was a friend and activist who worked diligently on issues that she felt were important. She was not afraid to stand up for what she believed was right. She will be missed.
Sharon Popp and Bob Frank
Friend
March 5, 2021
I was saddened to hear this news through my online community. Cheryl was a vibrant, interesting, intelligent and passionate woman who was generous and willing to give whatever she could to the causes she cared deeply about. My sincerest condolences to John and all her loved ones. May she rest in peace. But, may the energy and wisdom of her spirit guide us through troubled times.
Lois J Swartzell
Friend
March 5, 2021
I was saddened to hear this news through my online community. Cheryl was a vibrant, interesting, intelligent and passionate woman who was generous and willing to give whatever she could to the causes she cared deeply about. My sincerest condolences to John and all her loved ones. May she rest in peace. But, may the energy and wisdom of her spirit guide us through troubled times.
Lois Swartzell
Friend
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