This is the story of Cheryl Kaye (Graves) Carpenter. Cheryl was a wonderfully stubborn woman who enjoyed having the last word in an argument about as much as she enjoyed getting in a bidding war at an auction. She, of course, loved her family and friends too.
She was born in September of 1958 in Nevada, Missouri. Her parents, Harold (Shorty) and Permelia (Moody) Graves, and her big brothers, Wilson and Michael Graves, were excited to welcome her to her home in El Dorado Springs. As a child she enjoyed caring for her pets, playing sports, going fishing, and spending time with her family. She especially enjoyed family road trips to California to visit her Aunt and cousins. These are things she would continue to enjoy the rest of her life.
Cheryl graduated high school in 1976 from El Dorado Springs R-2. From there, she left for college and quickly decided dorm life was not for her. She returned to El Dorado Springs to build a life and plant roots near her family. She played in local softball, volleyball, and bowling leagues. Unbeknownst to her, she played with several of her future in-laws in these leagues. One night after a softball game, her teammate, Linda (Wiegel) Carpenter (future sister-in-law), took her to celebrate at Spring Street Bar where she met the Notorious Jerry Carpenter.
After a very unique introduction, Cheryl and Jerry would go on to date for several months and, after several proposals, decided to spend forever together. They tied the knot in October of 1980; the bride wore white and the groom was an hour late. They had a sweet, low-key ceremony which set the tone for their 40 year love story; less frills, more fun! They loved each other’s company so much that they worked together early in their marriage at the Nevada State Hospital and again together at Heartland Hospital. Years later, she and Jerry opened What-Nots Antiques together in downtown El Dorado Springs. They were rarely apart in the last years of her life, unless she ate a package of black licorice and then she was on her own.
Cheryl was overjoyed when she gave birth to her and Jerry’s first daughter, Jami, in September of 1981. Her new role as mom fit her like a glove. She doted on her baby girl and enjoyed every minute of motherhood. When their second daughter, Kali, was born in October of 1985, their hearts and hands were full. In 1990, Cheryl made the decision to go back to college to receive her R.N. During that time she took several classes, worked two jobs, and kept a home all whilst raising two young children; not to mention keeping Jerry in line. She worked long hours and many swing shifts over her career, but somehow managed to be at every practice and game/event her daughters had in school. Her girls would go on to appreciate all of Cheryl’s hard work to achieve her goals while being an amazing mom.
In 1991, Cheryl graduated with her R.N. degree. Caring for others was truly her fulfilling purpose in life. She worked in hospitals and nursing facilities in the southwest Missouri area over her almost 30 year career. She worked at Nevada Regional Medical Center for the last 17 years. She really enjoyed working with the patients and staff there and she had some of the best co-worker stories; some better left untold.
Where Cheryl really shined in life was as “Grama.” Her first grandson, Cash, came along in spring of 2011 and her second, Porter, in spring of 2013. As a mother, she wouldn’t share her Nutty Bars (her favorite) with her daughters, but as Grama the boys got their own individual boxes. Cheryl loved to spoil her grandsons with fun. She would walk them to the park from her antique store, take them to her mother’s house (Granny’s) for ice cream, and planned excursions to Silver Dollar City and the aquarium. She made it to all of the boys’ ballgames and school programs just like she did for her own children. Saturday night of the El Dorado Springs Picnic was her favorite tradition she had with the boys. She took them on all the rides they wanted, played all the games, and ended with the biggest bag of cotton candy they could find.
Cheryl had quite the list of favorite things. She preferred to spend her time in nature as opposed to the indoors. Her favorite activities included camping and fishing. She could live bait a hook with the best of them, but she wouldn’t touch a fish for all the jewels in the queen’s vault. Family road trips were like Heaven to her. She planned a summer road trip every year while her kids were young and continued to travel on the road with Jerry once they became empty-nesters. She liked to sit out in front of the antique store with Jerry and her grandsons after school on fall and spring afternoons. Some of her favorite memories come from auction trips with her family. She absolutely loved it when her family came along to spend the day bidding. Her favorite holiday was Thanksgiving.
To her family’s dismay, Cheryl’s story ended on April 13, 2021. She got the cancer and died on a Tuesday.
Cheryl is preceded in death by her father, Harold (Shorty) Graves; her mother, Permelia (Moody) Graves; and her eldest brother, Wilson Graves.
Cheryl will be missed until they meet again by her husband, Jerry Carpenter; two daughters, Jami Carpenter McCullick and her husband Jeremy; Kali Collins and her husband Chandler; grandsons Cash and Porter Collins, older brother, Michael Graves and his wife, Lorena, beloved pet, Belle; a swarm of in-laws, a gaggle of nieces and nephews, a host of auction friends and foes alike, and a partridge in a pear tree.