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Cheryl "Cheri" Rea (Smith) Burrows
May 2, 1947 ~ October 21, 2023 (age 76) 76 Years Old
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A loving mother, grandmother and one of the kindest and most caring teachers, Cheryl Rea Burrows, also known as Cheri Wright, 76, of Albuquerque, NM, passed away peacefully on Saturday, October 21st, 2023.
She was born in Anaconda, Montana in 1947 to her loving parents, Theo and Edward Smith. Six years later, she and her three siblings lost both of their parents in a vehicle collision when a person intoxicated with alcohol crashed into them. Her Grandmother, Marie Prince (Burch), kept Cheri and her siblings together and continued to raise them in Anaconda. Cheri just loved her Gram, who was such a strong and steady force in her life.
Cheri worked hard in school and enjoyed participating in many of the school’s clubs and activities. She attended Western Montana College in Dillon, and eventually got her master’s in education in Havre. She found her true calling teaching English to middle schoolers at North Middle School in Great Falls, MT. She was one of the best. Her students loved her, and many of them claim she listened and helped them when they felt nobody else did. She made a huge impact on many people’s lives by being so thoughtful and caring. Her love of reading and writing helped to fuel the passion in her students, and they still remember her influence on them fondly.
She had one child, a daughter named Jodie Hoffman, whom she loved more than anything. She raised Jodie on her own, and often thought of her strong Gram who had done the same. Cheri just loved babies and was over the moon to become a grandmother to Savannah Wright in 1998. She was able to spend lots of time baking cookies, swimming and making all kinds of memories with Savannah as she grew. Cheri loved Savannah “to the moon and back” and she would almost burst with pride when she spoke of her.
In 2002, Cheri moved to Murfreesboro, TN, to be with the love of her life, Kenneth Burrows. He was an art teacher, and such a kind man. In Murfreesboro, Cheri taught English once again, but this time she worked in gifted education. She absolutely loved it and really connected with her students on a deep level. She and Ken built a wonderful life together in the short time they had before he passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2008. This was an extremely difficult time for her, and the beginning of her struggle with dementia.
In 2012, Jodie moved Cheri back to Great Falls, Montana, and she spent the first few years of her retirement in her new home enjoying water aerobics and being close to her daughter’s family once again.
In 2017 Cheri moved to Cut Bank, Montana. She was no longer able to live on her own, and Jodie and her husband, Michael Hoffman, welcomed her into their home. In August of 2019, Jodie and Michael moved Cheri with them to Albuquerque, NM. A few months later, her second grandchild, Lyra Hoffman, was born. Cheri lived with her daughter’s family watching Lyra grow for 2.5 years. Lyra brought so much joy to her in a time when she was so confused and worried. Lyra loved her grammy, and they had such an amazing, strong bond. Their connection was instantaneous and never faltered, even as Cheri declined. Any time Lyra walked into the room Cheri would get a huge smile on her face and say “my baby girl!” Their bond was so joyful to witness in a time when dementia took so much away.
Cheri was well-loved by so many. Her caretakers at her memory care facility all loved her silly jokes and sweet demeanor, which shone through even until the end. She loved her family, coffee, sunsets, teaching, reading, all her students (especially the “difficult” ones), Christmas, talking to people, and water aerobics. She loved hearing people’s stories about their lives and their families. She had a way of making a person feel special, and that was her gift. She will be greatly missed by her family and all those who loved her, and her memory will live on in their hearts.
There will be a celebration of her life at 11:00am on November 11th at Croxford Funeral Home, 1307 Central Ave, Great Falls, MT, 59401. There will be a private burial the next morning in Anaconda, Montana. If you would like to share your condolences with the family, please visit www.croxfordfuneralhome.com If you would like to help her family by contributing to her memorial fund in lieu of flowers, please do so online at Cheri Burrows (Wright)'s Memorial Website on Ever Loved https://everloved.com/life-of/cheri-burrows-wright