Cheryl Lanterna passed away peacefully with her family at her side on March 20, 2018 after a short but courageous fight with pancreatic cancer. She was born in Middletown, Connecticut on July 11, 1948, graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School, and went on to receive a degree from the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. She began her career as an elementary school teacher, then spent some time in kitchen design, but it was when she moved to Southern California in 1994 that she found her true calling in working with the elderly, a passion that lasted 25 years and was kindled by her experiences with her grandmothers. She worked for several years at Villa del Sol, an assisted living community, but she truly blossomed as the Volunteer Coordinator at Hospice of Saddleback Memorial Care, a position that she held for 13 years. She had a unique ability to connect and communicate with seniors. The irony is that her disease progressed so aggressively that she never received the hospice care services that she spent so many years providing to others.
Cheryl was survived by her husband of 47 years, Skip, her daughters Jody and Jessica, and six grandchildren, Isabella, James, Conner, Francesca, Vincent, and Julia. She is also survived by her sister, Karen, sisters- and brothers-in-law, cousins, nieces and nephews, and multitudes of friends and neighbors who all will dearly miss her. Cheryl’s life was characterized by infinite love for family and friends and boundless generosity.
One of her fondest memories, and one that she had planned to repeat, was a family reunion at “the Yellow House” in Myrtle Beach. Family and friends were such a part of Cheryl’s life, and she loved nothing better than having a house full of people, especially at holidays. That also gave her an opportunity to decorate, cook, and bake. If twenty were expected, she cooked for forty! No one ever left her home hungry. One of her favorite activities was the Friday Night TGIF porch parties in The Woods, the neighborhood where she lived.
After her retirement, she joined The Amigos de la Colina and served as a Docent at Heritage Hill Historical Park. She enjoyed leading tours as well as serving as a School Marm for children who visited. In addition to learning about our local history, it added another segment of wonderful friends who welcomed her into their lives. She had also joined the Saddleback Emeritus Chorale and was preparing for their Spring Concert.
A funeral mass will be celebrated on Monday, April 16 at 10:00am at Santiago de Compostela Catholic Church in Lake Forest, followed immediately by a reception in the church hall to celebrate Cheryl’s rich but much too short life. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to MemorialCare Hospice and Palliative Services, which was closest to her heart.