Cheryl Jean BakerSeptember 6, 1960
Cheryl Jean Baker
Hello everyone. 20,700 and some days ago, on September 6, 1960 in Detroit, Michigan, I came into this world and have had an incredible journey. When I was a young girl, my parents (Harold LeRoy and Doris Marguerite Baker, both teachers) took me with my brothers Byron and Lyle and my sister Joy to a lot of wonderful places in the USA and Europe. Every summer was an educational experience for us. As I got older I rode my bike in the statewide bicycle tour with my father while my mother helped with food and logistics. It was a great family tradition through a lot of my adult life.
My love of travel stayed with me when I grew up. I went to the Bahamas and swam with the dolphins. I swam with a sea turtle in Florida also. For a couple of summer trips, I went to India with a friend and her family. It was really hot there but I loved every minute of it. Just three years ago I went on a cruise to Alaska with my mother and family friends.
When I was a teenager, I lifeguarded in the summers. Everything about water made me happy. After I moved to Utah, I found friends who river-rafted. We floated many different rivers over the years. Last year I got a permit to float the Grand Canyon so I invited my relatives and friends to join me.
I used my lifeguard skills over the years. Once I rescued a puppy from the Ogden River in April during spring runoff. I saw her in the river so I dived in, swam after the puppy, and pulled her out of the freezing water. I taught my friends how to swim in the swimming pool at my apartment. I also performed CPR on a fellow worker who stopped breathing until the paramedics got there to take over. That was tense.
Music was another love in my life. When I was young, I ushered at playhouses in the Detroit, Michigan area. There were some incredible performers. Everyone knew if they could hum a tune or knew some of the lyrics, I’d probably know the song. Bob Dylan really touched my heart. I was hoping to see and hear The Who this summer.
I became a certified teacher for deaf children. After graduation, I was offered a job at the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind (USDB) in Ogden, Utah where I began my career in teaching hearing-impaired kids. It was great fun for me to help my students learn not only how to speak but also I taught them academic content. It let me use my ever-present curiosity. I had my students write operas several years ago. It was always a surprise to see what kind of stories they would develop. I gave supplies and clothes to my kids in need and wrote grants for technology in my classroom.
I was elected President of my school’s teacher association for a few years and when I wasn’t in charge, I’d bringing my crocheting projects to the meetings so everyone could judge how long the meeting lasted by how many dish clothes I finished.
After many years of teaching I decide to go back to school and got a Masters Degree in Education, a Reading Endorsement and an Art Endorsement. Teaching all day, going to night school and taking classes in the summer was a challenge but I believed in being a lifetime learner.
After 32 years I retired from USDB in the spring of 2016 and then took a job as an art teacher at the Greenwood Charter School for the 2016-2017 year.
I had wanted to be an art teacher for a long time because I love to create things. I even won some ribbons from the Utah State Fair for my entries. I made a lot of crocheted hats and quilted baby blankets for friends. I painted and created things from clay and made things from about any media I found. As a matter of fact, that was a goal for me at Greenwood where I would go to stores to get recycled items for my students to use in their art projects.
My life has been full of friends, furry and human. We laughed a lot and there was always time in my life to help others. I hope you will always remember me for my love of life and love of people.
I met Mike on an airplane. He was a contract pilot. We both liked to travel and hike in the mountains with our dogs. We got married in the mountains by Park City. I was really happy that day.
I’m sorry to leave you so soon, but my life path has gone elsewhere now. My father and grandparents are on this journey with me. My dog Prema is with me also. Her name means Divine Love. An important part of my life has always been my inward search for God. Don’t forget to share your love with the important people in your life.
Please come and share your memories of Cheryl with her friends at one of the schools where she worked.
Check back on the website for updated information about events at other locations as they are planned for later in the summer.
August 10, 2017 at 11 a.m. at the Utah School for the Deaf and Blind will be holding a memorial for Cheryl at the Ogden Campus at 742 Harrison Blvd. Ogden, UT.
Past Events: Greenwood Elementary in Ogden we had a pot luck event and planted a tree in Cheryl’s honor on July 13th at their school.
Cheryl’s family had a ceremony for her in Michigan on July 15th. They thank you for all of your love and support at this difficult time for them.
If you would like to donate to Cheryl’s favorite place to visit, please make a donation by check or money order payable to “National Park Service.” Send to: Superintendent Arches National Park, 2282 SW Resource Blvd., Moab UT 84532. Please include Cheryl Baker as the reason for your donation.