Aug. 28, 1949 – Nov. 12, 2018
Cheryle Baxter, whose kind heart and sweet soul were matched only by her love for her family, the Lord and children’s ministry outreach programs, passed away on Nov. 12. The native of Minnesota but longtime Basin, Wyo., resident is survived by Dale Baxter, her husband with whom she had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, their three children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Cheryle Ann Matheson was born on Aug. 28, 1949, in Forest Lake, Minn., to Lester and Verna Matheson. On the night of her birth, her proud father telegraphed her new maternal grandparents in California to share the exciting news. “Dear Little Family of Three: … Praise the Lord for all His goodness and care over you, and that the precious little daughter traveled the hard journey safely,” her grandmother Grace Dexter responded in a letter. Cheryle became the eldest of six more siblings (Merlyn, Sheldon, Vern, Sheila, Julie and Darin), whom she helped to raise and would often share hilarious stories of their shenanigans together.
Early in her sophomore year at Forest Lake High School, at a church youth group party, Cheryle met Dale Baxter. Though she was dating someone else at the time, Dale said he saw her across the room and “just knew she was the one.” They became friends — primarily as active participants in the Coon Lake Covenant youth group — and often went on double dates together, but they didn’t start dating until their senior year. After graduation in June 1967, Dale proposed to Cheryle in December. She said yes, but the very next day he received a letter drafting him into the U.S. Army. They married on Oct. 5, 1968, and immediately moved to Savannah, Ga., for his military service.
After Dale returned from a yearlong deployment to South Korea, the couple had their first child, Daniel Lester, in May 1971. Rae Ann followed in June 1974, and Kimberlee Sue was adopted from South Korea in October 1979.
In March 1982, the young family moved out west to Basin, Wyo., where Dale became a police officer. In 1986, Cheryle started working for the State of Wyoming’s Department of Family Services, first as a benefit specialist and eventually as a fraud investigator. She retired from the State in 2014 with a handshake of appreciation from Gov. Matt Mead.
In her spare time, Cheryle was an steadfast supporter of children’s ministry in both the Big Horn Basin area and abroad. In 1983, she was the catalyst for bringing Greybull’s weekly AWANA program, which she had taught in Minnesota. Seeing thousands of children embracing the Lord’s word brought her such great joy that she remained involved with AWANA until 2016. She was also a passionate ambassador for Compassion International, a humanitarian aid program dedicated to improving the lives of children living in poverty. For almost 10 years, she traveled to local churches to garner support for the cause while sponsoring several children herself.
Through it all, Cheryle survived two bouts with cancer with an inner strength that was belied by her easy smile and infectious laugh. She was an active member of the Greybull Alliance church for nearly four decades, and her devotion to her faith in Christ molded a life lived with joy, kindness, selflessness and compassion.
Services for Cheryle Baxter will be held on Friday, Nov. 16, at Greybull Alliance Church in Wyoming and Tuesday, Nov. 20, at Linwood Covenant Church in Minnesota. She will be laid to rest alongside her loving parents in Victor Hill Cemetery in Linwood, Minn.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Atwood Family Funeral Directors.
“Well done, my good and faithful servant!” — Matthew 25:21