Cheryll Burgener Thomas

September 9, 1962 - March 8, 2021

Cheryll was born on September 9, 1962, at 8:03 pm.  Cher’s Mom, who we call Mother Shirlee, said she was a tiny 5 lbs. 2 ozs. The following are some memories of Cheryll by Mother Shirlee. “On September 9, 1962, a tiny bundle of joy came into our lives. She was a welcome addition, a very tiny baby, full of giggles and energy.

Her brother Jeffery and sister Jewell each loved to play with her, and tried to keep her safe. On one occasion I decided to take the children to an early relief society meeting. I dressed them first, then proceeded to ready myself. Before I finished getting dressed, Jeff came running in the room crying, Mom, she’s naked again. Sure enough Cheryll had managed to free herself from all her clothes, her dress, her booties, her diaper, and all. She was hanging from the stroller strap, not a stitch on! This started an ongoing struggle to keep my little girl dressed.

Cheryll was such an obedient child, especially when it came to taking her naps. After her lunch she would sleep from two to three hours. One summer day I was tucking her into her blanket when I noticed several little bumps. I found not one, two or three, but many pairs of colorful socks. They actually surrounded her tiny body. To this day we really don’t know why she hid them in her bed while she slept. Was it to protect her sockies and knee lengths from her big sister Jewell?

Cheryll was an extremely sensitive child. One Sunday afternoon she had left her black patent leather shoes in our living room. I said to her, very nicely, Honey, put your Sunday shoes in your bedroom, the bishop is coming over for a visit. A few minutes later I heard sobbing coming from Cheryll’s closet. As I walked into her room, she said Mommy, I am so sorry. My baby actually thought she was in trouble.

Her sensitivity became part of her personality, and it magnified as she grew older.

Cher was a wonderful part of our family, and I still feel the warmth of her tiny arms around me even now.”

Cheryll was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in September 1970, shortly after she turned 8 years old.

Cheryll attended Bonneville Junior High from 1975 to 1977. In her 8th grade year Cher was on the gymnastic team and became a cheerleader. In the 9th grade Cher was elected head cheerleader.

Cher attended Cottonwood High School from 1978 through 1980, where she spent many hours in the pool, perfecting her diving technique.

Cher spent her 16th summer at Bear Lake, working as a lifeguard at Sweetwater resort and help out at the Holiday Marina, launching and fueling boats.

From the time Cheryll was old enough to work, she always had a job, at Chelsea Drug and the Shalamar Reception Center. Cher started working for her Dad’s company, Transwestern General Agency, in 1980, and spent 25 years there. She started as an administrative assistant to the CEO dealing with the agency department and licensing of agents, and worked eventual as a marketing manager. Cheryll enjoyed visiting independent insurance agents in Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.

Cheryll was an excellent golfer, and played in many insurance golf tournaments and shot many rounds of golf with her friends and husband Tim. Cheryll had the most beautifully timed golf swing, and really had fun playing, never letting bad shots upset her, or saying never score a hole more than a snowman (8).

In 1989 we got Cher her first dog, Nubbins. Nubs was the first of many dogs to come. There was Johnny, Nubs, Buck #2, Tazzy, and Sky. These wonderful dogs became our four legged kids.

Cher enjoyed skiing, starting at a young age. We had many fun years cross country skiing, too. Cher loved having a season pass at Alta for many years.

Cher liked shooting trap with her brother Jeff and friends. They would shoot weekly at the Holiday Gun Club, having fun doing team shooting sliders. On weekends they would reload shells at Jeff’s house.

Cher loved the annual deer hunt, when we would meet at our house in Torrey, and a group of friends would come to stay and participate in the festivities. Four months after we were married in June 1994, Cher went on her first elk hunt, where we camped at 10,000 feet at Velvet Lake on the Aquarius Plateau. 

Cher grew a large garden in Torrey, a love and skill she inherited from her Grandpa Arnold and Grandma Marge. Cher would pick apples from our many fruit trees, and make and bottle the most delicious applesauce. She would pick peaches from our trees, and can many quarts each year. Cher loved shelling our walnuts, and dipping them in white chocolate, to be given as Christmas presents. She really liked raising beef in our pastures, and some of the cows were almost like pets, until it was time for them to serve their purpose.

Cher loved her Wranglers, and had all the colorful jeans Wrangler made. She had lots of cowboy boots, lace up Ropers, cowboy hats, and beautiful Double D dresses.

Cher was president of our excavating company, and was an expert dealing with the many insurance policies and workers comp issues. Cher could operate tractors, loaders, and really liked driving around Torrey in our Kenworth semi truck.

The following are some thoughts about Cheryll by Jodi Burgener, Cher’s sister-in-law.

“Before Cheryll became my Sister-In-Law we were friends from Cottonwood High School. We became even closer throughout the years in a circle of friends within our two families. She noticed the spark in the eyes of me and her brother Jeff, and promptly played matchmaker in 1989. We dated for 3 or 4 years before we were married. Thank you Cheryll.

She was very generous to me and my family when my mother passed away in 1996. At a moments notice Cher opened up her home to accommodate my family members for food and a celebration of life. It was absolutely lovely and will never be forgotten.

When inviting Cheryll to any lake activity you’d better know that she would most certainly win the Bathing suit contest. And this goes for the category of ‘ Quantity’ as well as ‘Best Worn.’.

Thank you Cheryll for many sweet memories from the last 45 years.

Thank you Tim for being the greatest husband you could ever be to our sweet Cheryll.”

The next memories are from Cheryll’s niece, Nicole.

“Cheryll and I used to sit across from each other when we would have family dinners. While everyone would talk we would share, ’who the hell are they talking about’ glances. When everyone would finish up, she and I would go into the kitchen and offer to do the dishes. That would give us at least 30-45 minutes without having to sit and listen to a story about a guy at that insurance place. We would gab about people, things, drama, etc. We would just joke when everyone else was talking about adult things. Then we would stress about washing VERY delicate dishes and trying to find counter space because we CAN’T stack the dishes while they are drying. We vowed then and there to always use paper plates at home.

Going to Tim and Cher’s house was always so homey. Tim and Cher are very hospitable. Whether you need coffee, snacks, a meal or a beer, they have got you covered. My husband and I decided to have Tim marry us and we went over to their house one day. Tim made us snacks, beverages, and we sat outside in their lovely backyard. Unanimously my husband and I made this decision because we were drawn to Tim and his relationship with Cher. Their friendship and marriage withstood many hard times and tragedies, but their love never wavered. Cheryll was very excited knowing Tim well enough to tell us he would do it, while he was taken back with the request. We were asking him to get ordained as a minister, but Cheryll knew he should and would do it.

Another memory I have of Cheryll was on a day in high school, almost summer, when the air was just right and it was about 70 degrees, just a great day after school. I drove up to my house and saw Cheryll’s jeep on the street. I was happy and with peace with that, she didn’t visit often, but it was just such a positive memory I have, and I always think about it and I love that she was part of it.”

Here are some memories from Cheryll’s sister Jewell.

“Cheryll and I grew up sharing a bedroom until we moved out on our own, We giggled a lot in that bedroom, and shared many secrets.

Cheryll had an expressive style that was all her own. When I think about my little sister, the first thing that always comes to my mind is the unique and wonderfully different way that she saw the world around her. She had an insight unlike anyone I have ever known. She could see people for who they really were and observe situations from an authentic point of view. Cheryll could always improve my perspective with her advice and feedback.

Cheryll and I worked together for many years. We had an opportunity to travel several times per year to some of the most exciting places in the United States and Western Europe. Cheryll was great to travel with and fun company. She also knew how awful my sense of direction was. When we got off an elevator together at any kind of hotel or building she would put her hand on my arm when the doors opened to nudge me in the right direction, without saying a word. I certainly would have gone the wrong way, every time. Cheryll was my compass throughout my life.

Together we always had interesting and wild experiences, especially when we let our hair down, and were off the clock. In contrast to that part of our lives, the best time I ever had with my sister was lounging on our porch at Bear Lake. We had the house all to ourselves; we talked and laughed for three days straight. We didn’t go near the water, get in the boat, or ride the wave runners, we didn’t even cook, so we ordered take out for every meal. Nothing in the world could have been better than just being together. 

Cheryll, I hope you have a comfy lounge chair, and you are very happy.”

Cheryll is survived by her husband Tim, their beloved dog Sky, Cheryll’s Mother Shirlee, step father Patrick, her brother Jeff and wife Jodi, her niece Nicole and husband Eric, her sister Jewell and husband Bob, her step sister Kerry, her step brothers Tommy and Steven,  her brother-in-law Dave Thomas and wife Geri, their golden Essie, her nephew Christian and wife Tiffany and grand niece Hazel, her nephew Jeremy and his heeler Max, her sister-in-law Tricia Wilkinson and husband David, her nephew Andrew and wife Brooke, her grand nieces Annie, Caroline, Jane and Emma, her grand nephews Will and Charley, her nephew Sam and wife Sarah, her grand nieces Elizabeth, Rosemary, grand nephews Isaac, Jack, Elijah, niece Maizy and husband Tyler, grand niece Bridget, niece Katherine and husband Frank, grand nieces Amelia, Holly, and Samantha, her niece Sharda, Uncle John Reeves, many Reeves cousins, Tim’s step brothers Ned Callister, Andy Callister, step sisters Leslie and Becky, wonderful friend and neighbor Robyn, cousin Mary Peterson and cousin John Peterson.

Cheryll was cared for with amazing compassion by the health care workers at Intermountain Medical Center; the nurses and doctors in the Emergency Room, on the 7th floor, in the ICU, and on the 8th floor where Cheryll spent 17 days before coming home for her final weekend.. The hospice nurses, Anna and Anna, social workers Jill and  Pearson, chaplain Doug, her palliative care doctor, Saloni Shah; everyone involved with Cheryll has been great. 

Cheryll was preceded in death by her Father, Gary, and her Grandparents Marge and Arnold Burgener, by Tim’s parents David Cutler Thomas and Margaret Ann Reeves Thomas, Tim’s step mother Beverly Callister Thomas, Aunt Gloria Thomas Peterson

A celebration of Cheryll’s life will be on Friday, April 16, 2021 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. In order to follow social distancing guidelines, reservations are required. Please call the funeral parlor at 801-474-9119 between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday through Saturday to reserve a time to visit. Masks are required.