Cheryl “Cheri” L. Paasch passed away on Jan. 5, 2019, at the Mid-Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles, Ore. Cheri was born on March 9, 1956, and was 62 years of age at the time of her passing.
Anyone who ever met Cheri knew she had a green thumb. Those who knew her well know that this is a complete understatement. But what might not have been immediately evident is that her green thumb didn’t just apply to houseplants and vegetable gardens. Everyone who had the pleasure of spending time with her left feeling fuller, more loved, and a bit more … grown.
Growing up, Cheri assumed the role of eldest daughter to Bud and Mary and big sister to Laurie and Linda with resolve and grace, though “big” might not be completely accurate. Standing at a proud 5-feet, three-and-a-quarter-inches (she says you can measure that way when you’re that close to 5 feet), she was resolute in her role as a trailblazer and was a sterling example for her sisters as well as her peers in the myriad extracurriculars in which she participated. Of those, the most notable are the Hood River County Fair and FFA. Her “green thumb” developed during this time and was reflected in the calm, steady animals she nurtured. Her favorites were always pigs. She was also a gifted horsewoman, undoubtedly due to her uncanny ability to make horses feel respected, trusted, and heard. She had this effect on people, too.
Then, Cheri fell in love with her high school sweetheart, Randy. After over a decade of young love studded with unflinchingly hard work co-owning a mobile slaughter business and bucking so many bales of hay, the baler casing actually wore out (true story), Bobby made his tiny presence known.
Just before he arrived, a Parkdale neighbor on her usual walk noticed a ready-to-pop Cheri on hands and knees in the dirt of her garden. Her belly wouldn’t let her bend to tend the late-summer veggies, so she made do. It’s with the same determination and love she raised Bobby and Gary. It’s also worth noting that motherhood didn’t temper her entrepreneurial spirit. Anyone who was lucky enough to walk past the Gourmet Gifts booth at the farmer’s market knows that.
In gardening, as in life, it takes equal parts nurturing and acting on intuition to encourage growth — Cheri’s gift was knowing when to let the wild things hold tight to the wildness in their hearts and when to intervene with her gentle touch and compassionate guidance. If there remains any doubt about her masterful knowledge of that fine line, it will dissipate the second her two strong, impassioned, good-all-the-way-through yet wholly wild boys enter the room. Her legacy lives on brightest in them and shines steadily in all that survive her.
Cheri is survived by the two greatest fruits of her labor, Bobby and Gary Paasch, and their wives, Mollie Paasch and Elle Ossello, respectively; her sisters, Laurie Crosswhite and Linda Harris-Massingill, and their spouses, Scott Crosswhite and Doug Massingill, and their children and spouses, Jenny Crosswhite, Daniel Sandoval, Brian Crosswhite, Melissa Crosswhite — their children Aubri and Austin and Justin Crosswhite, and Kyle Massingill; as well as her father Bud Harris and the great many extended family members and friends who adored her.
Services are planned for 1 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13 at Anderson’s Tribute Center (Funerals • Receptions • Cremations), 1401 Belmont Ave., Hood River, Ore. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.
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