Cheryl Lynn Stein of Oak Park, Illinois, passed away peacefully on May 20 at her second home in Annapolis, Maryland after a five-year struggle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Her husband Jay was with her as her spirit left her body a little after 11:00AM. Cheryl was awake and aware until very near the end of her journey, there was no pain or suffering.
Cheryl was diagnosed with AML in November 2016 and went through a bone marrow transplant in April 2017. She suffered from mild side effects of the transplant, known as graph vs host disease (GVH) throughout the rest of her life. Her leukemia returned suddenly and unexpectedly in April 2021. The medical science that had given Cheryl five years of life after her initial diagnosis was not able to save her again from the rapidly progressing cancer. Cheryl did her best for five years; she had no more to give.
Cheryl was born in Chicago on March 2nd, 1954, and grew up in Flossmoor, Illinois. She attended Homewood Flossmoor High School, Southern Illinois University, and The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. After graduation from U of I in 1975, Cheryl obtained a MBA from The University of Chicago. She spent most of her career as a commercial real estate professional in Florida and Chicago, where she worked for several prominent firms; and started and operated two commercial RE brokerage firms in her own name. Cheryl enjoyed representing clients until her leukemia diagnosis made it impossible for her to continue.
Cheryl enjoyed travel throughout her life, from an early trip to Europe with her younger sister Denise, trips to China and England with her older sister Marsha, through repeated trips with her husband Jay to major US cities, various countries in Europe, and many Caribbean islands. Some of her favorite travel memories were a solo trip to Japan, her honeymoon with Jay in the Burgundy region of France, visits with friends in Sonoma, NYC, and Oslo; and many winter sailing trips with Jay and friends in the Virgin Islands. Cheryl and Jay continued travelling after Cheryl's leukemia diagnosis, competing over thirty-five trips after 2017. Cheryl and Jay spent most of the winter 2020-21 on St Thomas, where Cheryl was able to enjoy swimming for the first time since her diagnosis, and take one more birthday sail to one of her favorite places on earth; Francis Bay, St John.
Cheryl also enjoyed gardening, a passion she inherited from her mother. She developed an encyclopedic knowledge of flowering plants and trees, and used that knowledge to turn her yard in Oak Park into a four season display of beautiful forms and colors. Many of her travels with Jay included visits to classic gardens and conservatories.
Cheryl liked spending time with her young nieces and nephews, and the children of friends and neighbors. She worked to support less fortunate children through involvement with the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, the Hephzibah Children's Association in Oak Park, and especially the Infant Welfare Society of Oak Park and River Forest.
Cheryl maintained a positive attitude toward life even when life was difficult; through chemotherapy, leukemia treatments, and working through physical therapy four days a week to maintain her strength, her beautiful smile lit up her face and inspired everyone she knew. Cheryl lived her life on her own terms until the end, she will be missed by many.
Cheryl was pre-deceased by her mother, Diana Fern Melton, her father Norman Stein, and her step-father William Russell Melton.
Cheryl is survived by her loving husband of 25 years, Jay Butler, her sisters; Denise Stein, and Marsha Spector (Jan), beloved nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews: Shira Lipsey (Joe), Joseph and Louise; Yehuda Spector (Melissa); Dovid Spector (Alana), Sienna and Eli, Daniela Gontownik (Zev), Ruth, Ava, Nora, Sylvia and Jacob; Avi Spector (Eryn) Nolan; and many other relatives and friends.
Cheryl's ashes will be spread in her beloved Caribbean Sea as per her wishes. Friends and Family will gather in Oak Park in the near future to Celebrate Cheryl's Life.
Those wishing to make a charitable donation in Cheryl's honor are asked to consider the Infant Welfare Society of Oak Park and River Forest, or The Leukemia And Lymphoma Society
Published by Chicago Tribune from Jul. 18 to Jul. 25, 2021.