Cheryl Dills, who worked in South Forsyth High School’s cafeteria for 20 years, will be remembered for her humor, dedication, but most importantly, her smile.
On Wednesday, April 28, Dills passed away at the age of 51.
Friends, family members and coworkers held a memorial service for her on Tuesday, Aug. 3 in the cafeteria at South to honor her before the school year started.
Athletic Director Keith Gravitt and Cafeteria Manager Dawn Garrett-Martin spoke about Dills, highlighting funny stories and just how much she impacted the lives of others.
“Cheryl was part of a department that’s essential to student success,” Gravitt said. “And her role here at our school was vitally important. We miss her dearly.”
Gravitt said that whenever he steps into the cafeteria, he can still see Dills’s smile.
“I never one time came up to Cheryl and she didn’t have the biggest smile on her face and ask, ‘What’s going on, coach? How’s the day going, coach?’” Gravitt said. “It didn’t matter if she was having a bad day or a good day, she was always smiling. And I know she’s smiling over all of us right now.”
Garrett-Martin agreed, saying that “Cheryl was more than an employee; she was a friend and family member to us all.”
Garrett-Martin also shared some Bible verses that she had picked out that reminded her of Dills.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
Garrett-Martin shared some fond memories that she had of Dills, pointing out that she had even brought out Dills’s cart for the memorial. On the sides, the cart still had two ‘C’s on it, and Garrett-Martin said that if “you ever used her cart and got it dirty, you were going to be in big trouble with Cheryl.”
Cafeteria workers that had previously worked with Dills but have since moved from South attended the memorial. One co-worker shared her memories of Dills, saying that Dills loved the band Creedence Clearwater Revival, “so I always made sure that I had that on my phone to play for her.”
Everyone agreed that they could not listen to CCR without thinking of Dills because “she loved them, and she also loved her Christian music.”
She also said that whenever Dills was finished with a task, she would stand with her hands on her hips and nod her head once. Now, years later, she said she finds herself copying Dills’ quirk.
“But that’s what Cheryl did,” she said. “So now, when you’re done, you just nod your head and you’re done.”
After sharing fond memories and sweet words, Garrett-Martin presented a plaque that South had designed dedicating the kitchen to Dills and her 20 years of consistent hard work.
Garrett-Martin said that the picture of Dills on the plaque was taken when some of the cafeteria workers had “spilled tater tots all over the refrigerator, and [Dills] was cleaning them up and just being silly about it.”
“This [plaque] is so everyone knows that she was here, and she’s not going to be forgotten,” Garrett-Martin said. “We just love her so much.”
“She was just one of a kind, she was a blessing,” she said. “But she won’t be forgotten. I mean, it’s still Cheryl’s cart.”
As family members, friends and coworkers gathered around Dills’ cart marked with ‘C’s for Cheryl, they shared more memories between themselves all while Dills, holding tater tots, was watching over them.