Photography

Cheryl Knitter

August 19, 1952 ~ March 13, 2024 (age 71) 71 Years Old

Cheryl Knitter Obituary

Cheryl Havens Knitter, aged 71, of Vancleave, passed peacefully into her
next experience on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, surrounded by friends and
family. She was a graduate of Biloxi High School, Wood Junior College, and
Delta State University, where she received her bachelor's degree in political
science. A staunch supporter of human dignity and rights, she worked in
the local school system as a migrant education support staff and then in a
local food stamp office. Unsurprisingly to those who knew her, she
repeatedly applied to Chevron Refinery in Pascagoula, MS, until she was
hired into the class of 1985. She wore many hats during her 24 years of
“boiling oil,” earning considerable respect and friendship from many of her
colleagues. One might also say that she even intimidated a few. After
retiring from Chevron, she continued her passion for education while
working as a contractor with Ingalls and as a work force development
educator for disadvantaged youth in the Pascagoula area.


Cheryl was complex, a conundrum, and an enigma. She was an avid reader
of numerous subjects, a compassionate and entertaining conversationalist,
a unifier in divisive situations, and a supporter of all to create the life of
meaning and dignity of their own choosing. She loved to speak for the other
side of the situation even, and perhaps especially, when she was the only
one willing to do so. “Cheryl Mama” entertained her colleagues with
amusing stories, anecdotes, and snarky comments; there is even a story
about pancakes.


Her greatest joys in her life were her daughter and her grandchildren. She
would argue she was not a good cook or singer, but her kiddos would argue

she made “the best omelet I’ve ever had” and Three Dog Night’s Joy to the
World lives on as an unconventional lullaby and road trip song. Known as
Chi-Chi to many of her grandchildren, she delighted in their
accomplishments and growth. She had an exceptional understanding of
human nature and was revered for her wisdom and advice on all manners
of life by friends and family alike. She was a mentor to many of the youth in
her family as well as her kiddos in the workforce development program.
Her wit and intelligence inspired those who sought her advice to strive for
the best they could.


She was a long-time supporter and collector of the arts, supporting
programs such as public radio, music and art education, and local artists.
She loved all music, but especially favored that by strong and empowered
women, blues, and jazz; her favorite was that of her daughter and
grandchildren. Cheryl enjoyed taking in plays, ballets, and musicals,
movies, documentaries, and tv shows, and then of course sharing and
discussing these with her loved ones. She collected an eclectic assortment of
art, filling her home with interesting pieces in which she loved to find new
points of interest.


Cheryl loved nature and valued organizations and policies to preserve the
beauty and health of our world for generations to come. She often spent
time on the back porch, watching the birds at their feeder, the turtles and
ducks on their “turtle dock,” and the amusing antics of their rescue dogs. As
an avid animal lover, she supported local animal shelters, trap and release
programs, and spay and neuter organizations. She loved the spring and fall
especially, cruising roads she knew offered views of wildflowers and turning
colors. Though she was a poor swimmer, she loved spending time both near

and on the water, cherishing vacations on the gulf and spending the day
traveling to the barrier islands with friends. Golf was a particular joy for
her, starting from her time as a young woman with a treasured great aunt
who helped shape her to who she was. She shared this love with her
daughter, partner, nephews, and her grandson Swayze. As a young woman,
she enjoyed basketball, track tennis and, one time later in life, nearly gave
her daughter a heart attack sprinting as they trained for a 5k, relishing the
feel of the wind in her hair. Her love of nature extended with her love of
travel; seeing new places, experiencing different cultures, and meeting
interesting people brought her great joy. Cheryl enjoyed rural and urban
experiences alike, though her trips to Ireland and Mexico City were among
her favorites.


She was always up to date on news and politics, often considering the
implications it would have for her treasured grandchildren. Cheryl
encouraged all who knew her to educate themselves on the issues of the
day, look at sources contrary to their own view, and to actively participate
in local, state, and national governmental proceedings. The divisive nature
of our current political landscape caused her considerable distress, and she
often pondered ways to help increase meaningful dialogue between the
sides. She practiced this at home with her family and friends. Cheryl would
want us to remember that we have so much more in common than we do in
difference and that we can still respect and value each other even, and
perhaps especially, when we do not agree.


A longtime friend reminds us that she would want us to remember Dr.
Seuss’ quote, which she read often to her kiddos, “Don’t cry because it’s
over, smile because it happened.” Her infectious and easy smile, captivating

laughter,  and quick wit will remain in the hearts of all who loved her. Her
quiet strength and calm, who anchored many, will be missed while her
memory remains a steadfast bedrock of love and compassion.
Cheryl was preceded in death by her father, Lyman Eugene Havens, Jr.,
mother, Fannie Lott Havens, and her brother, Thomas Ray Havens. She is
survived by her beloved partner of 19 years, Stephanie Moseley, her
treasured daughter, Gina Knitter, brother, Lyman Eugene Havens, III., and
her sister-in-law, Ruth Ellen Havens. Additionally, she is survived by her
dear stepchildren, Presley Weaver Keel (Josh) and Wesley Brice Black
(Amanda), and her “adopted son,” Lee Wyser. Her treasured eight
grandchildren are Swayze, Jolie, Tobias, Arriana, Brice, Caspar, Freya, and
Nova. Finally, she is survived by many beloved friends, especially Phyllis
and Ray Seyfarth, Ann Godfrey and Robin Decker, Regina Beaugez, and
Lisa Briscoe.


A memorial service will be held June 16, 2024, from 2 pm to 6pm at Flint
Creek Water Park in the Lakeview Lodge. All who loved and knew her are
encouraged to bring their favorite stories of her to share. In lieu of flowers,
please consider donating to the national or your local Planned Parenthood
organization, or if you would prefer, to the Jackson County Animal Shelter
or your local animal shelter. We will have donation boxes for each at her
gathering if you prefer non-digital donations.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Cheryl Knitter, please visit our floral store.

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