December 21, 2020
Cheryl left us to mourn on December 21st at the age of 53. Her decade battling metastatic breast cancer mercifully complete, but gone from us far too soon. She takes her place in heaven rejoicing with her Saviour, Jesus Christ and departed family.
Cheryl was born in Davidson, Saskatchewan, moving to Yale, BC at age 3. She lived in the house which is now the Yale Historic Museum. Working as a child at a fruit stand and the local hotel, she didn’t know she would one day revel at her good fortune to be there. As she began high school the family moved to Hope, BC where Cheryl was welcomed at Grace Baptist Church activities. To finish high school she moved to Langley, BC.
In July 1989 Cheryl married Arnold Szelecz. The family produced three beloved children and lived in Mission, BC before the father left for Alberta. Now living in Abbotsford, the eldest child, Adam, had been diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Cheryl did her best as a single mother raising two sons and a daughter. Together life necessarily centered around the many activities of Adam’s progressing disability. With the help of dear friends Cheryl made sure they found much happiness along the way. The family were blessed as members of the Hillside CRC congregation. Cheryl enjoyed walks with dog, Dexter, through Spud Murphy Park.
In 2008 Cheryl began a penpal correspondence with an American soldier serving in Iraq. In 2010, Cheryl married Rand Marston. They set out for a posting in Arizona, where they enjoyed visiting outdoor monuments and sites. Cheryl attended to breast cancer concerns as an obstacle to caring for her family. While Rand continued service, Cheryl and Adam returned to Abbotsford in 2012. Cheryl officially joined the Lynden, WA community in late 2014, as Rand ceased travel.
Adam passed away at age 26 in 2016 having prospered at home under Cheryl’s care team leadership. Now focusing on her own care, Cheryl sought fresh air and treatment. She loved to go hiking. From 2016 she studied with Bible Study Fellowship, having made friends at both Lynden Community Church and Bethel CRC congregations. Cheryl bravely battled as cancer spread finally to her brain.
We remember Cheryl for her engaging joyful spirit. She lived Proverbs 17:22 and lifted the hearts of so many along her way. Cheryl was predeceased not only by Adam, but her mother, Mary French of Hope; father, Bob Payne; and stepfather Lawrence French of Hope. She is survived by husband, Rand of Lynden; sister, Maureen French of Abbotsford; son, Aaron Szelecz of Edmonton, AB; daughter, Leah Szelecz, son-in-law, Josh Cumberland, and granddaughters Ava and Willow of Entwhistle, AB; and step-daughter, Audrey Marston of Valdosta, GA.
Initial arrangements made by Gillies Funeral Home, www.gilliesfuneralhome.com. A memorial sing service will be held online via Facebook Live Stream at https://www.facebook.com/bethelcrclynden/live/ on Monday, January 11, 2021 at 11:00 am.
Cheryl would say to slow down, live your life happily, not in grief or strife. Cheryl was a member of the Fraser Valley chapter of Muscular Dystrophy Canada.
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