Cheryl Lou Whelan of Montague,
After a long battle with cancer, Cheryl Lou Whelan passed peacefully at home with her family by her side, August 30, 2020 at age 74. She was born in Houston, TX on August 20, 1946 to Howard and Edith Cronkright Sadler and spent her early years in Texas before the family relocated in 1957 to Mason, MI where she attended Mason High School. Cheryl was married in 1963 and bore a daughter and son, Cheri Louise and Gregory Robert Preston. In 1975, she remarried to Howard Whelan, her husband of 45 years. Cheryl and Howard moved to Whitehall, MI where, spurred by Howard’s love of watercraft, Cheryl developed a shared passion for sailing. Soon after, the two established Tanbark Sailing Adventures, a charter sailing business which they operated for several years. To solidify her business credentials, Cheryl studied for, and earned, her captain’s license, an uncommon feat for a woman at the time. Their showcase vessel was a 46-ft ketch named Shiloh, which once graced the cover of Great Lakes Sailor magazine. In 1996 Cheryl and Howard relocated to Montague, MI and built a home on Brown’s Pond, where they spent her remaining years. Cheryl had a variety of interests including nature/bird watching, kayaking, art, hobby crafts and gardening. She was an accomplished artist who excelled in various media including oils, pastels, and sculpture. Cheryl was an avid gardener, creating extensive gardens at their homes in Michigan and Florida, and in time achieved her Master Gardener certification while starting her own garden design business, Fernwood Studios. She was active in several community organizations holding membership and leadership positions in the Lansing and Muskegon Christian Women’s Clubs, Mason Child Study Club, Arts Council of White Lake, and Venice Isle Gardeners. Cheryl also served as business manager and director of the White River Gallery. Cheryl loved cats and personally rescued or adopted several during her lifetime. She was an ardent advocate for cat adoption and animal shelters in her community. Cheryl was a vibrant, kind and compassionate soul who loved her family and friends, having shared many wonderful times with both. A spiritual woman, she understood the nexus between God and all things in nature. Her grace, humor, humility and quiet elegance will be missed by those who love her.
Cheryl is survived by her husband, Howard Whelan; children, Cheri (Bill) Sharp of Eaton Rapids, MI, Bethany (Rich) Satterlee of Alba, MI, Greg (Deb) Preston of Grenada, MS, Brad Whelan of Burien, WA, Autumn (Brent) Johnson of Whitehall, MI; 10 grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; brother, Dr. David Sadler of Ann Arbor, MI; cats Peanut, Holly, and Fannie. She was preceded in death by her parents.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to Faithful to Felines (http://www.faithful2felines.com/) or Arts Council of White Lake (https://www.artswhitelake.org/). Arrangements were entrusted to the Mills Funeral Home, Shelly-Odell Chapel in Eaton Rapids. Please visit our website to place online condolences, www.millsfuneral.com.
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