“I don’t need a whole lot. For me, a T-shirt, a pair of shorts, barefoot on a beach and I am happy…” – Yanni
Cheryl loved all aspects of the beach. It didn’t matter if she was relaxing with friends, playing in the sand or water with Olivia, or taking in the sunset, she was at peace. Cheryl was a ray of sunshine and appreciated everything life had to offer. She was a teacher of life, especially to Olivia, making sure to keep everything in perspective. As difficult as this last year has been for Cheryl and her family, she remained upbeat, positive, and always looked out for the needs of others first. So, the next time you are taking in a beautiful sunset, or going for a stroll on the beach, take a moment to think of Cheryl and remember the joy she took from these simple moments. Life (and the beach) is beautiful, enjoy it!
Cheryl Ann was welcomed into this world by her parents, Ronald and Joyce (Keyes) Findlay, along with an audience of student nurses (no joke!), in the Walkerton Hospital on Wednesday, June 20, 1973. She joined her older brother Kevin (1969), with the family residing just north of Scone on the Grey Bruce Line. Cheryl attended Elderslie Central School before moving on to Chesley District High School. During her youth, Cheryl was actively involved in figure skating as well as Brownies and Girl Guides. Many fond memories were made at the family cottage in Inverhuron, where Cheryl quickly developed a love of the beach and water. Together, with Ron and Faye MacLennan and their family, the Findlays enjoyed many days on the shores of Lake Huron.
In Grade 11, Cheryl transferred to Walkerton District High School where she remained until graduation in 1992. She went on to attend Humber College in Toronto, taking a 1-year program in public relations. Following that, Cheryl enrolled at Sheridan College in Oakville where she obtained her 2-year diploma in advertising. During this period, Cheryl was very active in the student council before becoming involved in a program advisory role, whereby she helped develop the future curriculum for the business and advertising faculty. In this position, she was the faculty representative for over 400 students. After graduating from college, Cheryl worked at Blockbuster Video in Mississauga for a short period before working reception in a temp agency. She then went on to work for Wieland Electrical in Oakville as a marketing assistant. Following that, she spent some time at Corporate Express (now Staples) as a National Production Assistant.
In 1999, Cheryl left the city life behind and returned to Chesley settling in an apartment above Denomy’s. She quickly found work at the family business, Findlay Pallet Company Ltd. (est. 1967). On Friday, September 14, 2001, Cheryl’s world forever changed when she became the proud mother of Olivia Love. Cheryl and Olivia soon settled into their new home on Northview Cres. in Chesley, where she enjoyed motherhood. As Olivia grew, she soon became active in dance. Cheryl was her chauffeur and #1 supporter! Together they also enjoyed spending time at the family cottage in Sauble. It didn’t matter if it was one evening, a weekend, or a week’s vacation, they always slept in the same bed and often woke to the sound of the waves in the morning.
Cheryl enjoyed travel. Two family road trips with Olivia and her parents stood out for her. In 2011, the family travelled to Florida to experience Disney. Here, they took a very memorable helicopter ride (just ask the others), along with everything Disney and Florida had to offer. In 2015, they went on a musical road trip. Their adventure took them down the Bluegrass highway, with stops at the Grand Ole Opry, Graceland, and the Hard Rock Hotel in Mississippi, before reaching the musical state of Louisiana. I am told they made time for the odd museum tour (and a history lesson from Ron) before heading out on the highway again. Cheryl was always quick to point out that she enjoyed the journey more than the destination.
She was an avid lover of music and in particular live concerts. Through the years, she attended countless musical events throughout Canada and the U.S. Her taste in music was eclectic, with Cheryl being drawn to the likes of everything from Old Crow Medicine Show to Avett Bros., and everything in between. She enjoyed bluegrass, string bands, and developed an appreciation for Willie Nelson. Summerfolk was on her calendar yearly! If not listening to music, Cheryl could often be found writing. She always had several notepads on the go and often joked that she had several books within her! 🙂 When she did settle down in front of a television, Cheryl looked for something light, funny, and entertaining. She truly loved to laugh! In her free time, Cheryl enjoyed photography and sharing her artistic talents with others. She also had a great appreciation for ancestry and took it upon herself to track her family history back six generations, to 1812. Cheryl loved a pretty summer dress and a nice cup of tea. As her grandmother always said, it had to be “black, hot, and don’t be Jon Tucky.” She was also fascinated with turtles. In fact, I am told she collected anything turtles, amassing quite the collection through the years.
Cheryl was a creative woman who loved helping others. While Olivia was growing up, Cheryl spent countless weekends working on and in her decorating business, normally keeping busy with weddings. However, when a need arose within the community, whether it be a fundraiser, benefit, or community event, Cheryl was quick to offer her time and her talents to help the cause. Cheryl was empathetic, always wanting to pay kindness forward and care for others. On countless occasions, she (and Olivia) would perform random acts of kindness, often around Christmas. She never looked for accolades, but instead wanted to bring a bit of joy and happiness to those around her. Cheryl was always kind, loyal, genuine, and sincere, with a great perspective on life. She was protective, taking several children under her wings through the years, and Olivia’s Momma bear! Although a self-proclaimed introvert, Cheryl enjoyed a warped sense of humour. Just ask Olivia about her friend Gladys, a body pillow that Cheryl covered in a dress. Yup, countless pranks, and fun were always had when in Cheryl’s company.
In 2006, the family business closed, but Cheryl was able to keep the same chair and desk (yes, you read that right) and began working with Aecon. She held the role of field system operator and office manager for the next fourteen years. Sadly, a year ago, Cheryl was diagnosed with cancer. Although difficult news for everyone, Cheryl was determined to fight, and that she did! Through all the doctor’s appointments and treatments, Cheryl put her best foot forward. Although the patient, she was the one making sure all those around her were supported, especially Olivia. In recent weeks her health and condition became worse, and Cheryl passed away surrounded by her loving family at Chapman House on Sunday, June 19, 2022, in her 49th year.
Cherished mother of Olivia. Beloved daughter of Ron and Joyce Findlay of Scone. Dear sister of Kevin and his wife Jody of R.R. #7 Owen Sound and loving aunt of Savannah and Austin. Cheryl will be forever remembered by her aunt Karen Findlay, uncles Wayne and Roger Keyes, cousins, and many friends.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Sunday from 2 – 4 and 7 – 9 p.m. Cheryl wanted everyone to be comfortable, so please just be yourself! If it was up to Cheryl, it would be a fun or beachy outfit, something with colour, or a favourite sun dress. A funeral service celebrating Cheryl’s life will be held at the funeral home on Monday, June 27, 2022, at 4 p.m. Inurnment in Walkerton Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the Chesley Hospital Foundation or the Residential Hospice of Grey Bruce, two organizations that supported Cheryl and her family greatly, would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.