Cheryl McElheney

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cheryl Joy Hobday McElheney died peacefully at her residence at 8:50 a.m. on December 4, 2009. Cheryl was born in Portsmouth, Virginia and graduated from Churchland High School. She later earned an Associate of Arts degree from Chowan College.
While attending Radford University where she studied Business and English, Cheryl met Charles on a blind date. After forty-three years of marriage, they are proof that blind dates do work. Radford is close to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University where Charles received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management. The two were married at the beginning of their senior year.
After graduation, Charles and Cheryl were fortunate to immediately find employment. Five weeks after starting new jobs, Charles received his draft notice during the height of the Vietnam War. Fortunately, Charles was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany and his parents gave Cheryl a plane ticket to Germany for Christmas in order for her to be with Charles. During their time in Heidelberg, Cheryl and Charles experienced the birth of their first child, Dawn, who was born premature. Her month in the hospital NICU cost $1.00 per day!
Living in Germany for two years gave Cheryl a thirst for travel. She and Charles now have completed travel around the world, including both the Arctic and the Antarctic.
In 1974, Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and Halifax Linen Service, Inc. became Cheryl’s new home. With three small children in hand, Charles and Cheryl lived in a fifteen foot Shasta camper while trying to get established in a new town and state. The city has become more than a home to the family. All three children graduated from Roanoke Rapids High School, and each child has attended or completed college. Of their twelve grandchildren, eight are presently enrolled in this great school system.
After the death of E. J. King, former co-owner of Halifax Laundry, Charles and Cheryl acquired complete ownership of the company. Cheryl joined the business and utilized her degree in accounting as she took over all of the bookkeeping responsibilities. Since then, she has remained Secretary/Treasurer of Halifax Linen Service Inc.
Due to her unconditional love for what is now Chowan University, Cheryl served five terms as a trustee of the school. She is a past Executive Committee member of the Board of Trustees of the university. She also served on the Alumni Board and the Board of Visitors. She chaired the retirement dinner for Dr. Stan Lott, past president, and decorated the campus for current president Dr. Christopher White’s inauguration.
Cheryl has been honored with several awards including the Distinguished Baptist Heritage Award of North Carolina, membership in the Chowan University Legacy Society and the Alumnus of the Decade from the Sixties. She received the Chowan University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006.
Cheryl was a member of Rosemary Baptist Church for thirty-three years. While a member of Rosemary, she sang in the Chancel Choir for seventeen years, played in the Carol Mires Hand Bell Choir for ten years, taught the three and four year-old Sunday school class, and served as hospitality chairwoman for the church. Most recently, Cheryl was an active member of Victory Baptist Church. She also was a member of the Roanoke Rapids Jr. Women’s Club, The Pilot Club, and she has served as secretary to the board of the Roanoke Rapids Union Mission, and chaired their fiftieth anniversary celebration.
Cheryl was extensively involved in the coordination of the Roanoke Valley Women’s Conference put on each year by the Roanoke Valley Chamber of Commerce. All arrangements for the 2010 conference were completed prior to her passing.
Cheryl was preceded in death by her sister, Gayle Dawn Hobday Lincoln; her mother, Bernice Adell Hatchell Hobday; and her grandson, John Allen McElheney.
She is survived by her father and step mother, Donald and Faie Hobday; her brother and sister-in-law, Ken and Lesley Hobday and their children; and her brother-in-law, Bill Lincoln and his son. Surviving family in Roanoke Rapids includes her husband of forty-three years, Charles Preston McElheney, Jr.; her daughter and son-in-law, Dawn and Matthew Porch; her daughter and son-in-law, Shawn and Mark Perkins; son Charles Preston McElheney III, and twelve grandchildren, Elizabeth Alliene Porch, Samantha Leigh Porch, Catherine Anne Porch, Victoria Lynn Porch, Vivian Christine Porch, Christopher David Perkins, Charles Alexander Perkins, Melissa Rose Perkins, Kimberly Joy Perkins, Charles Preston McElheney IV, Ethan Luke McElheney, Natalie Marie McElheney; and one great-grandchild, Annabelle Dawn Gardner.
Askew Funeral & Cremation Services, 731 Roanoke Ave., in Roanoke Rapids is handling the arrangements.
Funeral services were held Monday, December 7 at Victory Baptist Church, 338 Roanoke Ave, Roanoke Rapids, with Rev. Michael Jones and Dr. Martin Christopher White officiating. Interment will follow at Cedarwood Cemetery in Roanoke Rapids.
Memorial donations in Cheryl’s name may be made to the Chowan University Student Center Fund, One University Place, Murfreesboro, NC 27855 or to Victory Baptist Church Building Fund, PO Box 189, Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870.
Online condolences may be made to the family at