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Cheryl Lynn (Klingler) Brown returned to her Heavenly Father’s house on November 4, 2023 at the age of 78 and surrounded by family and loved ones. Cheryl was met by her husband, Murr LaVar Brown; her son, Michael Murr Brown; her sister, Merlyne Kaye; her sister, Kathleen Bonny (living sons Caleb and Jacob); and her parents, Arzella and Frederick Spaulding Klingler. She leaves her two daughters, Kaylynn Johnsen (married to Christopher Clay Johnsen) and Tanaya Lynn Ropp (married to John David Ropp); nine grandchildren (Elizabeth Dane Carver, Douglas Fredrick Johnsen, Andrew Scott Kirkpatrick, Matthew Murr Johnsen, John William Ropp, Michael Glenn Ropp, Victoria Curtis Johnsen, Talayna Lynn Pehrson, and Cameron Thomas Ropp), nine great grandchildren (Emily Ann Carver, Sarah Elizabeth Carver, Finn Asher Ropp, Lyanna Lynn Pehrson, Benson Porter Ropp, Neil Murray Ropp, Edwin Clyde Ropp, June Ropp, and Reggie Ropp); and her sister, Linda Muhlestein (married to Wayne Muhlestein; children David, Kathleen, and Derek).
Cheryl was born in Spokane, Washington on August 24, 1945. She spent her childhood among the beautiful pine-covered mountains in the Kalispell, Montana valley, near Glacier National Park. She often spoke fondly of watching ants and fishing before school, riding horses, and skiing with friends and family, where she had plenty of adventures! Once, she and a group of friends she was skiing with ended up going down the wrong side of “Big Mountain” and ended up in Canada! Cheryl also loved midnight swims in the local pool and spent many years on Flathead Lake.
After graduating from Flathead County High School, Cheryl attended Brigham Young University (BYU) to study music and work on her teaching degree. She grew up in a home filled with music. She advanced quickly with the piano, and always used her musical talents whenever possible, until she passed away. Over the years, Cheryl helped many students progress and develop their musical talents in piano and voice. Many of her students continue to this day to share their talents; several of her students were her own grandchildren (and even great grandchildren).
Cheryl put her musical teaching to work in the BYU student ward, where she met her future husband Murr. She noticed that he had signed up to receive music lessons and she made sure that she was assigned to teach him. They got married in the Cardston Alberta Canada Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Temple on June 15, 1965.
While living in Utah and attending BYU, Cheryl and Murr had their first 2 children: Kaylynn and Michael. As struggling students, both Murr and Cheryl worked very hard and had very little, but they were very happy. To celebrate their 1-year wedding anniversary, the two of them shared a dinner mint, which became a cherished memory for them both. Cheryl often shared fond memories of time spent playing games with family. While attending BYU, Cheryl earned her Bachelor’s in education with a minor in English. Later she would return to BYU to complete her Master’s in music.
After graduating, the young family moved to Washington state where their third child, Tanaya, was born in Moses Lake. Cheryl had always wanted a large family, but her Heavenly Father had other plans: although she experienced 8 pregnancies, she was only blessed with 3 living children. She always spoke very positively to her children about the attempts to create a larger family, and expressed immense gratitude for the children with which she was blessed.
A few weeks after Tanaya was born, the family of five moved to Arizona, eventually settling in Peoria. (As the writer of this biography, Peoria, Arizona is where my personal memories begin. I remember extreme and challenging Easter Egg hunts, where eggs would go months before they were found (some never were!) by the smell alone. I remember pranks where my tiny 4-year-old body would be laying on a kitchen counter covered in ketchup. I also remember sitting at my mother's feet while she painted or did “rub outs” as I call them; she was and is an amazing artist!)
While living in Washington and Arizona, Murr and Cheryl helped a group of teenagers and young adults: Rosemary, Cathy, Rich and Bob were foster children, but they were always treated like family and helped Cheryl realize her dream of having a large family. Although they were only with them a relatively short time, Cheryl always kept up with them and viewed them as her own children. After this experience, Murr and Cheryl made the decision to move to Montana to provide foster care. Over the years, they were able to help several other children.
Cheryl kept her home filled with music and the scent of fresh baked bread (which she received by bartering for in exchange for her music lessons). Although she could cook and bake, she would often get distracted; she loved to teach others about music, and many of them could not afford to pay, so she always found a way to barter for various things in exchange for her lessons.
One of Cheryl’s favorite things was gardening, and she always made a garden wherever she lived. She would can and preserve the bounty from her gardens. In Montana the growing season was extremely short, but that didn’t stop her: the garden began in the house for sprouting and finished in the storage room for ripening. Cheryl taught her children to snow ski on the same mountain that once led her to Canada. She would share stories from her younger days skiing, such as making “tomato soup” from hot water and ketchup in the lodge because both items were free (she didn’t need to do this, but it was the “cool thing” to do at the time). She taught her children to love all four seasons and everything Montana had to offer.
When Kaylynn moved to Utah to attend BYU, the entire Brown family went with her. Kaylynn had been involved in an accident where she broke her neck, so Cheryl did not feel comfortable being too far away from her. This was when Cheryl went back to school and finished her Master’s in music at BYU, taking advantage of the opportunity. The family of five lived in a cramped off-campus dorm-style apartment for a bit, but eventually moved to Roy, Utah and lived there for a few years before moving to California.
While in California, Cheryl continued to teach both privately and in the school system. She eventually opened the Northern California Conservatory of Music to help build the musical talents of the local community. She and Murr also took jobs working with troubled youth in the corrections system, helping them develop family skills. In the final phase of their rehabilitation, the youth would live in a home where Murr and Cheryl served as “parents” so they could return to their own families after graduation. This proved to be a very tiring but rewarding job, and they both loved it dearly.
They eventually moved back to Arizona to be near Murr’s mother in her final years, where Cheryl earned her Master’s in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix and taught in the local school system. Her love of music was shared with family, and she took in her grandson so that he could participate in the Phoenix Boys Choir for several years.
After a few years in Arizona, Murr and Cheryl moved back to Utah to be near their two daughters and their children. In Utah, Cheryl continued to teach private music lessons in her home and was able to attend a plethora of events her grandchildren participated in, ranging from band concerts to soccer games to Tae Kwon Do tournaments to musical theatre roles. She loved going out to dinner, going to the movies, and especially loved attending theatrical performances at the many musical theatres across Utah.
After the death of her husband Murr, Cheryl moved to a home very near J&J Nursery where she soon began to work. Cheryl loved working at J&J Nursery and putting her gardening skills to use once again.
Soon her body began to give out on her, and she moved to a retirement community nearby, Fairfield Village. At Fairfield, Cheryl was a friend to all! She really enjoyed the activities there and stayed very active until the very end. Only a few days before passing away she attended the musical Sleepy Hollow at the West Valley Performing Arts Center with family to see her grandson and his wife perform.
Cheryl passed rather unexpectedly, but she was surrounded by loved ones. Most of her grandchildren and great grandchildren got the opportunity to have a quiet moment with her before she left. One great grandchild told her she would be sorely missed when she was gone, but that “Jesus was waiting” for her. From the moment she pressed her alert button to the moment she took her last breath she was never alone. Not only was she surrounded by the loved ones waiting for her on the other side, but a family friend was one of the paramedics who responded to the medical call, her family gathered by her side at her hospital bed, and her grandson and his wife spent the night with her on her last night here on earth. She is dearly loved and dearly missed, but we are all happy for her.
Viewing: Friday, November 17th at Myers @ 6-8 pm
Funeral service: Saturday, November 18th at Chapel Park Chapel @ 10 am
Graveside service: Saturday, November 18th at Evergreen Cemetery @ 2 pm