Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Heartfelt Tribute

On Sunday, May 31st 2015 hundreds of family, friends and neighbors gathered at the Lemon Bay High School auditorium for the Memorial Service arranged for Cheryl and Jake Stevens. A vast majority of the group that had gathered returned to the Island for a reception at John & Kathy Sickles' home.  PIE sponsored the event and Rum Bay Restaurant provided the catering. Everyone came together to celebrate the lives of Cheryl and Jake. For those of you who are out of town, the following eulogies were prepared for the service.

Cheryl Ann (Grapp) Stevens

Cheryl Ann (Grapp) Stevens was born to Raymond and Janice Grapp in Iowa on April 30, 1962. She was raised on the family farm and graduated from Allison- Bristow High School in 1980. Cheryl continued her education at Iowa State University where she obtained her bachelor's degree and also met her future husband Kevin Stevens.

Cheryl and Keven were married April 12,1986, and 2 months later they enlisted in the Air Force, and the roller coaster ride began. They were eventually stationed at 6 Air Force bases throughout the US and Osan Airbase, South Korea.

Their son Jake Stevens was born November 30, 1991, and daughter Holly Stevens arrived May 24, 1994.

In late 1999, the couple found a home site on Palm Island. In 2001, Cheryl and Kevin, along with other family members, put in many hours of hard work and dedication to build their dream home on the island which was completed in 2003.
While Kevin was still on active duty, Cheryl and the kids became full-time Palm Island residents in July 2005.

Cheryl devoted much of her time to being a full-time mom to Jake and Holly but her resume also included being a repo officer in Marquette, MI, a teacher's aide to special needs kids in Pensacola, and a rental agent on Boca Grande.

Most recently she became the fitness coordinator for her many girl friends on Palm Island. They enjoyed bike rides, tennis, water volleyball and more. Cheryl also appreciated time spent with the island ladies’ Bible study. 

Cheryl and their dog Jasmine were well known for their daily walks around the island. Initially people knew Cheryl as Jasmine's mom.

Cheryl was an outstanding mother and a gracious hostess, welcoming friends and family into their home. Along with Kevin, they were known for their great culinary creations.

Cheryl and Kevin loved their time spent with family and friends on the island. A major part of entertaining included boating and golf cart rides. Cheryl loved being on the water.

Cheryl is survived by her loving husband Kevin Stevens, her daughter Holly Stevens, her parents Raymond and Janice Grapp in Iowa, her father and mother-in-law Norm and Norma Stevens in Florida, sisters Janell and Scott Steffen, Susan and Richard Blessing, brothers-in-law Mark and Pat Stevens, Robbie and Crystal Stevens along with several nieces and nephews.

Cheryl and her son Jake tragically lost their lives on May 24.

Cheryl is also proceeded in death by her grandparents and brother-in-law Craig

The immediate family appreciates the outpouring of love and support from other family members, their Englewood friends, and friends they have known throughout the years.

Jake Daniel Stevens

Jake Daniel Stevens was born to Kevin and Cheryl Stevens on November 30, 1991, at K,I. Sawyer Air Force Base, Michigan, on a blissfully snowy night. Kevin reluctantly admits he chose the wrong vehicle for the trip to the hospital and got stuck in a snow drift en route. They managed to get there and Jake arrived 2 hours later.

Jake grew up living throughout the U.S. at 6 Air Force Bases as well as Osan Airbase, South Korea. The family settled in Englewood, FL, in April 1999, but due to the events of September 11, 2001, the family returned to the Air Force and had a short stay in Pensacola.

June 2005, the family become full-time residents of Palm Island. Jake attended Lemon Bay High School. Following in the family footsteps he joined NJROTC as a freshman where he established relationships with many of his treasured friends. In 2010 he graduated from high school with dual enrollment in Charlotte Technical Center for Culinary Arts. He continued education at Santa Fe College, Gainesville.

Jake moved to South Carolina, where he worked and reconnected with great friends from Lemon Bay. He temporarily returned home to Palm Island as he completed plans to return to Gainesville, for further education.

Jake had an artistic soul. He loved to cook and create meals for family and friends. He was a self-taught guitarist who enjoyed singing and writing songs. He also enjoyed drawing, painting and pottery.

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