Dec. 31, 1944 — Aug. 18, 2020

Cheryl Lynn Kemper, age 75, passed away suddenly, of natural causes, in her home on Aug. 18, 2020. She was born on Dec. 31, 1944, in Dayton Washington, to LaNita and John Blessinger.

Cheryl, known as Sherry to friends and family, lived in Hermiston, Oregon, since 1975, where she was a beloved first grade teacher at West Park Elementary, and then Highland Hills Elementary, until her retirement in 2003. After briefly living in Dayton, Washington, she moved to Craigmont, Idaho.

Growing up, Sherry was involved in acrobatics, cheerleading, and nearly every activity a small town had to offer in the 1950s and ‘60s. She held a great fondness for her childhood, and spoke of it often.

Sherry graduated from Highland High School in Craigmont in 1963, where she was a member of the National Honor Society. She attended Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston, Idaho, from 1963-66, before transferring to Washington State University in 1966, where she received her BA in Elementary Education in 1967.

Sherry married her high school sweetheart, Bob Kemper, in 1966. After college, they moved to California, where she attended graduate school at Long Beach State University. She then taught elementary school in Torrance for 5 years. Sherry and Bob welcomed their only child, Craig, in 1972, while living in Westminster, California. Shortly before her divorce to Bob, Sherry and Craig moved to Hermiston, Oregon in 1975, to be near her brothers, Bob and John. This move proved to be the perfect fit.

Sherry loved being a mother, grandmother and teacher. She taught school for over 35 years, and influenced generations of students. Sherry’s superpower was her ability to create little magical moments of discovery for her students, and first grade was tailor-made for her. Hundreds of children, and sometimes even their own children, benefitted from her imagination, patience, creativity, and skill.

Sherry was preceded in death by her mother, LaNita Blessinger Harrison; her step-father, Walt Harrison; and her father, John Blessinger.

Sherry is survived by her son and daughter-in-law, Craig and Lindi Kemper of Beaverton Oregon; her grandchildren, Bethany Kemper, Quinn Kemper and Chelsea Read; her brother, Bob Blessinger of Gresham, Oregon; her brother and sister-in-law, John and JoDee Blessinger of Pendleton, Oregon; her beloved nieces and nephews, Ron Blessinger, Dan Blessinger, Lisa Broberg, J.B. Blessinger, JoLonna Windsheimer and Jason Blessinger; as well as numerous cherished aunts, uncles and cousins.

A small private service for family was held in Dayton, Washington, where she was born, and laid to rest near her parents. Arrangements were handled by Burns Mortuary of Hermiston.

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Karen Longeteig

Sherry was a dear friend all through grade school and high school in Craigmont. It started with Mrs. Gunter’s dancing classes where we teamed up to do acrobatics together. Sherry was so limber, unlike me, but we made a fun team. Our 6-girl famous camping expedition in Cold Springs Canyon in a cow pasture comes to mind — we were all so sunburned! Busy high school activities with newspaper and band. Her cheerleading was flawless. She would have made a great team athlete but Title IX wasn’t here yet and there were no girls’ team sports at all! Our wonderful senior project of writing a local history book led to a story-book class trip to Seattle that was an unbelievable amount of fun. Sadly we lost direct touch in college but I always kept track of her through Craigmont contacts. At the 50th reunion, which she couldn’t attend for health reasons, I loved talking to her again as did several other classmates. John and Bob, Craig, my deep condolences to you and the rest of the family. Sherry’s spirit and gifts will remain with you always, as they will with me. Best regards, Karen, Class of ‘63 Highland HS.

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