Remembering Cheryl …

Published 7:59 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2021

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Cheryl DiChiara viewed life through rose colored glasses.

She saw only goodness in all those around her. She saw only beauty in the world and found hope in all things, big and small.

“Hearts break every day at the loss of her,” said Karen Herring, a friend and co-worker in the medical field. “Cheryl’s life was a legacy of service. Her whole life was dedicated to her family, the medical profession and her community. What more good can you say about a person than that?”

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Herring said Cheryl DiChiara touched so many lives and in so many ways that were never known.

“Cheryl went about doing good and she did it in a quiet and unassuming way… in Cheryl’s way and we all loved her so.”

Cheryl Colley DiChiara, 70, a lifelong resident of Troy, passed away Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, following a fierce fight against COVID-19.

She, a registered nurse, and her husband, Dr. Peter M. DiChiara, own Pike Internal Medicine in Troy.

Cheryl DiChiara was dedicated to her Lord and Savior, to her family and friends, to the medical profession and to the far reaches of her community

“I’ve only been pastor here at St. Martin for a little over a year now.  I did not realize how much Cheryl meant to our community until I celebrated her funeral mass and saw the overwhelming support for her and the DiChiara family,” said Fr. Chris Boutin, pastor St. Martin of Tours.’

“She was not just the First Lady of St. Martin Parish, she was the First Lady of Troy in so many ways.  She was a light to so many people she encountered.  I can’t begin to count the ways.”

Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. said, too, Cheryl DiChiara was a remarkable woman.

“As one of the ‘Colley Girls,’ she was part of the closest group of siblings I have ever met,” Hawkins said. “They shared the joys and pains of life as one. Individually and collectively they loved their family, their hometown of Troy and Troy University.’”

Hawkins said Cheryl DiChiara, as an integral part of her husband Mickey’s medical practice, helped continue a Colley family tradition of serving as University physician.

“That tradition began with Dr. ‘Tip’ Colley, followed by Dr. Jim Colley and today, Dr. Mickey DiChiara,” Hawkins said. “This community and this University mourn the loss and will miss Cheryl.”

Mallory Quincey, nurse practitioner at Pike Internal Medicine, said “Mrs. Cheryl” was an outstanding influence in the healthcare community.

“She utilized her background as a registered nurse to help build and manage their practice, Pike Internal Medicine,” Quincey said. “She consistently was ensuring that we all put our patients and their health as our first concern and expected nothing less.”

Quincey said simply sitting at her desk was not something you usually saw “Mrs. Cheryl” doing.

“She was always up and moving throughout the clinic making sure everyone, staff and patients, had exactly what they needed,” Quincey said. “She also was a huge advocate for improving access and assisting with the health care needs to our surrounding communities. The annual Heart Walk was something that she always heavily supported in an attempt to encourage others to make their health a priority. She is greatly missed by our office and our healthcare community.”

Whenever Cheryl DiChiara was asked to give of her time and talents outside the office, she was always willing to give over and above.

“Cheryl was more than a member of our planning board at Troy Health and Rehab,” said Ovida Walden, board leader.  “She was always here for us with wonderful ideas for our residents. When asked to help out with any of our many activities, Cheryl was always ready, snacks in hand, and that beautiful smile on her face.  She loved the residents and staff at Troy Health and Rehab as if they were her own family.  Our Planning Board and facility have lost a very important part of our lives.  Cheryl will be missed by so many and we, at Troy Health and Rehab, will miss her tremendously.”

Roxie Kitchens said although she has known Cheryl for many years, she got to know and appreciate her even more when they served together on the TH&R Planning Board.

“There are many things to appreciate and admire about Cheryl but the one thing that stands out to me is how she always asked about my family. Family was most to Cheryl. That was true when I saw her out and about, too. She was genuinely interested in others. That means a lot and it says worlds about Cheryl.”

Cheryl DiChiara served on the Colley Senior Complex Foundation Board for more than 15 years with commitment and pride, said Catherine Jordan, Complex director.

“Cheryl and I worked together for nine years and we became close friends,” Jordan said. “As a board member, if something was needed at the Colley Complex on the medical side, Cheryl took care of it. If one of our members was sick, she was concerned. She wanted everybody to be well. When, it was time for the flu shots, Cheryl didn’t send someone from Pike Internal Medicine, she came herself.”

Jordan said Cheryl was very involved in the annual Mardi Gras Gala, which is the senior center’s largest annual fundraiser.”

“The Gala is a lot of work and Cheryl was always there doing more than her share and giving us a push,” Jordan said and added laughing, “when you hang out with those Colley girls you’re going to have a good time.

“We’d all be tired and ready to go home and Cheryl would say, “Put on your big girl panties and get moving!

“Cheryl walked three miles a day and ate right so she would say, ‘Catherine, don’t eat that. It’s not good for you.’ She looked after everybody because she cared about everybody.”

Jordan said when Cheryl DiChiara walked into a room, she lit it up.

“Cheryl was a ray of sunshine. She had a wonderfully good spirit about her. I don’t know what we will do without her loving light in our lives.

“I know and understand that God doesn’t make mistakes. So, I know God must have needed Cheryl in Heaven to help out in His Great Kingdom. I know, too, that there are no words to say how much she will be missed on God’s great earth.”