Rehoboth Community Remembers Cheryl Blackman - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rehoboth Community Remembers Cheryl Blackman

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Cheryl Blackman was 53-years-old (Source: Blackman's family) Cheryl Blackman was 53-years-old (Source: Blackman's family)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - The cards at Cheryl Blackman's Celebration of Life read "Only a moment in our arms, always in our hearts." Based on the stories shared at Wednesday's service, the latter is definitely the case.

Hundreds of people came out to remember Cheryl at the Epworth United Methodist Church. Family and friends gave tributes to the woman also known as "Rehoboth's Sweetheart." The stories ranged from funny-- like Cheryl rubbing the belly of a Hell's Angels rider when the motorcycle troupe arrived in Rehoboth--to serious, such as recollections of the adversity Cheryl faced growing up. But everyone who spoke had one common theme: Cheryl Blackman was all about love.

"She knew how to give love. She always had a hug, and she had a smile or a belly rub for everyone she met," said her sister Valerie Cordrey. "I want to thank all of you because Cheryl lived her life and Cheryl died knowing she was loved."

Added friend Bob Cartwright, "As Mother Theresa said, 'Peace begins with a smile. I will never understand all the good and simple that it can accomplish.' Cheryl's smile was the key fit to unlock everyone's heart." 

Cheryl was well-known for walking around downtown Rehoboth in costumes, varying from Elves to Leprechauns, asking for donations for charities by selling raffle tickets. There were raffle tickets at her Celebration of Life too, where the winners took home a photo of Cheryl. In past interviews, Cheryl's family says she raised more than $210,000 for charities, including approximately $180,000 for KINfolk. Her giving spirit and perpetual positive attitude were characteristics people said inspired them to live their lives.

"Cheryl taught me how to live, be happy and always smile," said her sister Barbara Rynkowski. "And try to spread love and happiness wherever you go."

Cheryl was only 53 when she died after a battle with breast cancer. Her death may seem unfathomable, but sister Sharon Sherwood said her son offered her an explanation.

"We're out here on earth to learn to love unconditionally," she said. "I think one of the reasons Cheryl was taken from us at a younger age is because she learned that lesson very early on in life and she shared that."

In lieu of flowers, the family asks people consider donating to the Tunnell Cancer Center or Delaware Hospice, the organization that Grotto Employees are sponsoring in Cheryl's name in their Parade of Trees.

Emails may be sent to Sherwood says there's been an outpouring of support since Cheryl's death, and they still love hearing all the stories people share with their family about Cheryl.

"She touched us in so many ways," says Sherwood. "And I think she touched many souls throughout this city."

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