Cheryl R. Stelter of New Kingston passed away on April 30, 2013 after a lengthy illness and battle with cancer.
As Cheryl’s husband for 35 years, I struggled with how to summarize one’s life in a brief obituary and still do her justice.
Born and raised in Queens, Cheryl graduated from John Adams High School and attended Queens College for a year. Those who knew Cheryl are aware of her passion, strong beliefs, a desire for privacy, and an unwavering commitment to things that were important to her and what she loved to do: the environment (she was years ahead of most folks in her concern over global warming and its serious effects on our weather, pollution, etc.)
Cheryl served as Clean Communities Coordinator, Plastics Recycling Coordinator, Litter Control Officer, and Chairperson of the Environmental Commission; all of which when we lived in Matawan, NJ and Vice Chairperson of the Environmental Roundtable for the Bay Shore Region in New Jersey, her love of fly fishing in the county’s great trout streams, plus she was the first female officer of Trout Unlimited Jersey Shore Chapter. Music from Jerry Garcia’s Grateful Dead to rap’s Kanye West and most in between, camping from Maine to Pennsylvania, she loved the outdoors, fresh air, crackling fir and outdoor cooking.
Cheryl was a talented artist and loved arts and crafts and folk art. Our home is a testimony to her skills and our shared love of early American art and furniture, and gardening. She spent endless hours creating a beautiful and natural garden that surrounds our home. I think “perennial” was her middle name. Sayde, our wonderful daughter that Cheryl committed 18 years as a stay at home mom, helped successfully launch Sayde’s life. Her black pug, Owen, brings hours of joy and loyalty to both of us. And most important, honesty, I know of no one more honest and “street smart” than Cheryl was; never a lie, never deceitful to some maybe honest to a fault.
After Sayde’s life was launched, Cheryl returned to work, serving as a family services worker for Delaware Opportunities Head Start program serving the Arkville, Hobart, and Grand Gorge centers for over 10 years.
Aside from me and our daughter, Sayde, Cheryl is survived by two sisters, Marilyn and Lorraine; many nieces and nephews; two wonderful brothers in law and a sister in law.
Cheryl was predeceased by her sister, Diane and her beloved mom, Marge, who had a profound impact on Cheryl’s life and was a wonderful mother-in-law (thanks Marge for teaching Cheryl to make “Marge’s great spaghetti sauce.) She also leaves behind two amazing labs, Bertha and Ramona, who hunted with her and roamed the trails and hills in Halcottsville with Cheryl every day they lived.
As we move through life, each step has a purpose in our plan, some a bit spontaneous, first in Manhattan with marriage and the birth of Sayde, then to Jersey shore, our first real home, great schools, wonderful people, then to Halcottsville in the Catskills over 20 years ago, a real life change, lots of land, log home, beautiful country. As Sayde grew into a young lady and off to college, then to New Kingston to share the rest of our lives together.
Wow, 35 years have flown by! April 1st marked our anniversary (married twice on the same day 30 years apart) a date selected so we would smile and never forget it.
As my partner all these years, Cheryl made up for all my failings, which probably made us a good team. I will always remember her beautiful smile, natural beauty and Queens “twang.”
She taught me a lot about so many important things, some I am still learning. We first met when she was my secretary for a company in New York (she hated me as a boss!) and our paths have stayed together ever since. It is so difficult to watch someone with so much vitality and strength weaken before your eyes, but the vision in my eyes and my memories will keep me laughing, happy, strong, and the beautiful person called Cheryl always on my mind.
Cheryl will be cremated in a simple private service for family only, and at some point in the future, we will be interned together overlooking the mountains and stream we both love. “Together then, together now.” I love you Cheryl, you’ll never be alone, Steve (Finkel).
In lieu of flowers, donations in Cheryl’s memory may be made to Catskill Area Hospice & Palliative Care, 1 Birchwood Drive, Oneonta, NY 13820.
Condolence may be sent to: HynesFuneralHome @catskill.net.
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Hynes Funeral Home, Margaretville.