Cheryl was called to heaven on January 15, 2022 at the age of 82, spending her final weeks surrounded by her loving family. Cheryl’s dance in service to God overflowed with beauty and grace. She carried this dignity in her day-to-day interactions with family, friends and acquaintances old and new, creating beautiful relationships that stretched well beyond her beloved Boulder.
Born in Denver in 1939, to Marine and Evelyn Smith, Cheryl was the oldest of five children. Although the family lived intermittently for one year in Richland, WA, and then another in Tucson, AZ, they always returned to Denver where they were pillars of the community. Cheryl welcomed opportunities to travel far and wide but always loved coming home to her roots in the Rocky Mountains.
Cheryl graduated as valedictorian from South High School, and then moved to Boulder to attend CU. She received her BA in English and her Masters in Education in the early 1960’s. In Boulder she met Robert (Bob) Yarusso, who among other things, shared her love of dance. Cheryl and Bob won ballroom dance contests together and both taught at Baseline Junior High School. They married in 1962, and moved into the same Table Mesa home where she lived for 59 years.
Cheryl taught English at Baseline until 1966, and then took a break from teaching to focus on her family, and on The Sacred Dance Group of Boulder that she co-founded with Paula Douthett. Cheryl was a visionary and gifted leader who ran the US chapter of this international dance ministry that spanned 3 continents. In 1985 she returned to teaching English at Sacred Heart of Jesus School for many years where she built and led an exceptional speech and debate program, guiding many students to find their voices. She was always passionate about helping others express themselves through speech, dance, or prayer.
Excellence, integrity, spirituality. Cheryl embodied all of these qualities and applied them to all of her endeavors. Whether she was taking dance and exercise classes at the Boulder Rec Centers, praying with people at the Vinelife booth at the Boulder Creek Festival, or playing on the floor with her Grandkids, God’s Grace flowed through Cheryl effortlessly. She took this ability to connect with others abroad in her work with Sunrise Ministries, most notably to Kenya, Russia, and Israel. Meanwhile, she founded and led the Grace and Glory dance team in Boulder that is still going strong.
Cheryl was a loving and devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She is survived by her two daughters, Gina (Bryan) Skene of Seattle, Washington, and Maresa (Mark) Smith of Renton, Washington; and five grandchildren, Sylvie, Dominick, and Francesca Skene and Dezi and Story Smith. Services and celebrations of her life will be held in late June at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church and at Vinelife Church. Donations may be made to Vinelife Church or Tru Community Care Hospice of Boulder.
Her dance lives on in our hearts as it surely does in heaven.