BROCKWAY — Cheryl Darlene Anderson DeSantis was born April 21, 1953, the oldest daughter of Shirley Henry Anderson and her husband, Vernon. She grew up in downtown Brockway on the 500 block of Broad Street.
Cheryl met her future husband when she was 12 years old, while attending a friend’s wedding. When Vic DeSantis met Cheryl it was a case of “love at first sight.” He asked her what she liked to do for fun and she just said, “Jump rope!” He declared to a bystander, “I’m gonna marry that girl someday” – and he did on Sept. 1, 1970. They eloped to Montgomery, Alabama. Vic went on for a tour of duty in Vietnam and then went to work with his father in the carpentry business. They have two children – Krista (Brian) Sparacino and Jon “J.C.” DeSantis.
Cheryl was a homemaker and a caregiver for her parents and her in-laws. She also worked as a waitress at the Rocky Grill for many years, and was employed at a day-job as the secretary to the Brockway Elementary School principals for 33 years before her official retirement on April 20, 2015.
She has always been the “social director” for everyone and everything around her. She is deeply involved with her community and church. At the Moorhead United Methodist Church, she works with the “Mission Mart” and has been the leader and director of the annual fall “Harvest of Love” program. At the elementary school office, Cheryl became acutely aware of the health and nutritional needs of the children and, along with nurse Pat Battitori and guidance counselor Michaelyn Neiger, took action with the “We Care Program” to help students with coats, gloves, shoes, eyeglasses, personal items and even food as needed.
Former principal Bob Cherubini recalls, “I saw many parents come in to the office ready for battle only to face a smiling Cheryl and calm down to the point of actually understanding what needed to be done to solve the problem. She was always helpful, honest, truthful, tough and compassionate. She did it with a smile and made parents feel at ease. They trusted her. They knew she understood. Cheryl was perfect for the job.
“She was always at work. And she always had a smile on her face as she brought the best out of people every day,” Cherubini said.
In retirement, she has become involved with the board of the Brockway Area Ambulance Service. When the board conducts its semi-annual fund-raising luncheons, she can be found in the kitchen as well as floating around visiting the diners and making them feel welcome.
When her mother retired from the board of the “Citizens of the Year Committee,” Cheryl took her place. When the committee met this past fall, she was out of town and that provided a chance for a discussion of her qualifications in family, community and church. Her name was placed in nomination by representatives of various organizations.
She is a hometown girl who loves the community, everything that is done for the community, and all the people who call Brockway their home.