Obituary for Cheryl Lynn Vincent
Cheryl Lynn Stephens Vincent, 74, of Northfield, MN, always known as Lynn, died January 8, 2019, at the Mayo Clinic Rochester Campus in Rochester, MN, after a brief, aggressive illness. Lynn was born February 17, 1944, in Burbank, CA, the older of twin daughters born to John Howard Stephens and Catherine Elizabeth Griffiths Stephens. Her father was stationed in California with the U.S. Army and shipped out to Europe soon after his daughters’ birth. For the remainder of WWII Lynn and her mother and sister lived with her maternal grandmother, Maude Moore Griffiths, in Peoria, IL. In 1946 Lynn’s father […]
Cheryl Lynn Stephens Vincent, 74, of Northfield, MN, always known as Lynn, died January 8, 2019, at the Mayo Clinic Rochester Campus in Rochester, MN, after a brief, aggressive illness.
Lynn was born February 17, 1944, in Burbank, CA, the older of twin daughters born to John Howard Stephens and Catherine Elizabeth Griffiths Stephens. Her father was stationed in California with the U.S. Army and shipped out to Europe soon after his daughters’ birth. For the remainder of WWII Lynn and her mother and sister lived with her maternal grandmother, Maude Moore Griffiths, in Peoria, IL.
In 1946 Lynn’s father returned from service, bought land in Boulder, CO, with his own twin brother, and began to build a house in a landscape of rocks, resin weed, and rattlesnakes. In 1947 Lynn and her mother and sister moved to Boulder to join her father. They lived in the basement for many years until her father completed the house in 1961. Lynn graduated from Boulder High School in 1962 and was able to go to her senior prom from a finished house with a lawn. Lynn lived for 20 years in Boulder and grew up loving horses, her guitar, singing, painting, and her Girl Scout troop.
On February 26, 1966, Lynn married Dennis Lee “Vince” Vincent at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, CO. Vince soon deployed with the U.S. Air Force to Vietnam, and their daughter, Cheryl, was born in Michigan in 1966 while he was in Vietnam. When Vince returned, Lynn’s family moved to Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Michigan, where their son, Stephen, was born in 1968. For years, wherever Vince was stationed Lynn took college courses, gradually earning credits that resulted in her being awarded a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York in 1993.
From her school days with Troop 18 in Boulder, CO, to her high school years as a camp counselor, Lynn was committed to Girl Scouting. As a Senior Girl Scout she earned the Curved Bar Award, then the highest award in Girl Scouting. In 1974 when Vince deployed to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa Lynn and their children moved with him, and Lynn became an active Girl Scout leader at Kadena. After Vince was again stationed stateside, Lynn continued her Girl Scout leadership service wherever they were based, becoming a professional Girl Scout executive and holding progressively responsible positions. She served as Field Services Director for the Mitten Bay Girl Scout Council in Saginaw, MI; as Executive Director for the Manitou Girl Scout Council in Sheboygan, WI; as Executive Director for the Mountain Prairie Girl Scout Council in Fort Collins, CO; and finally, as Executive Director for the Cannon Valley Girl Scout Council in Northfield, MN. In 2004 Girl Scouts USA presented Lynn a Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of 50 years of Girl Scout membership and service.
Lynn came to the Cannon Valley Girl Scout Council in 2000 and immediately threw herself into serving the community of Northfield even though at the time she was commuting from Apple Valley, MN, to the Council Office. In 2000 she became a Founding Member of WINGS, Women in Northfield Giving Support, an organization of women pooling their resources and talents to improve the lives of women and youth in the Northfield area. Lynn served on WINGS’ Board of Directors beginning in 2004 and as the organization’s President in 2008. Since 2001 WINGS has surpassed $1,000,000 in grants given to better the lives of Northfield women and youth.
In 2006 Lynn moved with Vince to Northfield and retired from Girl Scouting in 2007. Taking immediate advantage of retirement, Lynn helped initiate and organize Northfield in Bloom to compete in the national America in Bloom awards program, which supports local efforts at improving quality of life. Their work was so successful that within a few years Northfield in Bloom had convened a battalion of civic improvement groups to work together as the Beautify Northfield Coalition. Then, in 2008, Lynn and a handful of others troubled by the threatened destruction of the town’s historic Canadian Pacific Railroad depot joined forces to save Northfield’s depot. Lynn worked actively to form the non-profit Save the Northfield Depot organization and served as Co-Chair of its Board of Directors and Chair of the Fundraising Committee. The work of the Board and countless volunteers and supporters paid off, and Lynn’s dream of seeing the Northfield depot secured, moved, and restored has been realized. It now stands on a new site between 2nd and 3rd Streets, proudly presenting itself with its graceful blue hand-built roof brackets to the world.
Lynn was working hard with the Board in early December to secure funding for the depot park landscaping when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). All the intelligent, thoughtful, determined, and caring efforts of the dedicated medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic could not alter the rapid progression of the disease. She died in the care of Mayo Clinic Hospice with her grandson William and her sisters by her side.
Lynn was predeceased by her husband of 44 years, Dennis Lee Vincent; her son, Stephen Ward Vincent; her parents and grandparents. She is survived by her daughter, Cheryl Lynn Vincent; grandsons William Christopher Vincent, Ryan Layne Vincent, and Devon Hunter Vincent; granddaughters Jadelyn Marie Vincent and Kayleigh Maria Lynn Abbott; and great-grandson, Kaiden Dennis Vincent-Churan. Also surviving are her twin sister, Catherine Leigh Stephens McCarthy; younger twin siblings Joy Ellen Stephens Taylor and John William Stephens; nine nieces and nephews; and many Stephens, Griffiths, Workman, and Moore cousins.
Lynn’s family is profoundly indebted to the Mayo Clinic for the battle waged on her behalf. The valiant work of Lynn’s caregivers in her defense, and their unrelenting kindness, made bearable what no one should be asked to bear.
Her unassuming and self-effacing manner at times could mask Lynn’s strengths and generous spirit. Her life, however, declares them. She devoted her life to her family and was their rock and salvation. She worked always to benefit others—her family, friends, neighbors, and community. Now Lynn’s enduring embrace of family and community will have to sustain those who loved her and who will miss her big laugh, her dear face, and her heart of gold.
Visitation will be held January 15, 2019, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at Benson and Langehough Funeral Home, 201 East 4th Street, Northfield. Funeral services will be at 1:00 PM January 16, 2019, at Emmaus Church, 712 N. Linden Street, Northfield. with interment to follow in Northfield Cemetery, 1320 Division Street, Northfield.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in remembrance of Lynn Stephens Vincent may be made to Save the Northfield Depot, 712 4th Street East, Northfield, MN 55057.
Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com