Cherie Ann Fey Anderson first illuminated our world on June 8, 1936. Father, Joe A. Fey, and mother, Leona Kirkendall Fey, bundled her up and settled her right in on the family cattle and sheep ranch at the base of West Butte in the Sweet Grass Hills of north-central Montana. From the beginning, theirs was a multigenerational household shared with Joe’s parents, John and Rosa, who had homesteaded the place.
Cherie spent much of her early childhood roaming the treed areas near the ranch house with her imaginary friends. Then, almost 5 years later, her beloved sister, Vicki Lynn, joined the family, giving rise to their extraordinary bond and friendship which endures beyond their physical time together on this earth.
Cherie attended the local country school through second grade until the Feys bought a house in Shelby. She excelled scholastically, graduating valedictorian of her class at Shelby High School. Her path led her to Missoula where she joined the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and secured many lifetime sisters/friends. She met the love of her life, Robert G. Anderson, in January of her junior year. They were married the following July. Cherie returned to Missoula that fall to complete her B.A. in education and graduate early. She taught second grade at Paxson school until daughter, Lisa, was born and Bob graduated from UM law school.
The next stop was Billings and an exciting and rare opportunity to teach in an experimental third grade classroom at Eastern Montana college. As Cherie was an innovative and devoted teacher, as well as a life-long student, she was thrilled to be chosen for that position and made the most of what she’d learned from it in her future teaching endeavors.
In June of 1964, right in the heart of the great flood, Cherie, Bob, and Lisa moved to Shelby and son, Joe, completed the family that fall. During all her children’s formative years, Cherie cared for them at home, teaching them to read and play the piano before they were old enough to go off to school. She never missed an opportunity to be involved in any of her kids’ activities or events. She was always our most enthusiastic cheerleader. A quiet, under-the-radar community leader, Cherie’s role in Jayceens and Soroptimist International instigated and aided some creative opportunities for the Shelby community and its youth. She returned to teaching elementary school in Shelby for several years as she and Bob became empty nesters.
In 1987, Bob was diagnosed with leukemia and decided to retire. He and Cherie moved to Eagle Bend Golf Course in Bigfork where they made many new friends and enjoyed old friends from the “east side” who had made similar moves. Cherie remained happily in Bigfork for ten years after Bob passed. In 2001 she moved to a townhouse right across the way from her grandchildren, Alex, Andie, and RJ, in Kalispell. Cherie became well-known by her grandkids and all their friends as “Grandie” – an endearing moniker which we will retire in her honor.
Once again, not an opportunity to be a part of her family’s busy life escaped her. She never missed a single thing in which her grandkids participated, and her cheerleading skills never had a chance to get rusty. The births of her two great-grandchildren brought Grandie more joy than she could contain, and she would exclaim over and over how grateful she was for her life and everyone who was part of it.
Cherie’s gifts of a sense of humor and elegance was evident in her very aura. Her love of books was legendary. She created a beautiful, loving home where all were comfortable and where she was able to rest until her last breath on April 26, the anniversary of Bob’s birthday.
Cherie is predeceased by her parents and husband, Bob.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law Lisa & Tim Schnee, son Joe Anderson, granddaughters Alex (Daniel Horowitz) and Andie (Giuseppe) LoPresti, and grandson RJ (Mallory) Schnee. Cherie’s great-grandchildren – Clarke Jean Schnee and Julian Robert LoPresti – brought her the utmost joy and much hope for the future.
Cherie is also survived by her cherished sister, Vicki Fey Schulz, and her dear sisters-in-law, Jeanne (Bob) Delp and Shirley Sarraf. She was a beloved aunt of Derek Schulz, Katie Schulz, Chris Delp, Jennifer Delp Forsyth, Kemia Sarraf, and Kiana Sarraf Joersz.
On Cherie’s behalf, her family would like to convey their sincere gratitude and appreciation for the loving care she received from Dr. Aaron Alme & staff, Dr. Jeffrey Eshleman & staff, Dr. Kay Hansen & staff, Dr. Peter Wagner & staff and Logan Health Hospice. Our deepest appreciation extends to Epaga Home Care whose compassionate caregivers were essential to Mom and our entire family as we traversed uncharted territory. Additionally, we are so grateful for all the family members and lovingly loyal friends who made Mom’s life so fulfilling.
Cherie felt strongly about supporting many causes, but she especially championed children and education. Please make any contributions you would like to The Flathead Food Bank, Intermountain Children’s Home, or Flathead Valley Community College.
Celebrate Cherie’s beautiful life with us at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7 at Buffalo Hill Funeral Home. Following the service, we will continue to share our memories at a “garden party” reception hosted at Buffalo Hill Golf Course. Wear purple if Cherie’s spirit so inspires you!