Aug. 31, 1956 – Feb. 20, 2018
Cheryl Ann Hurd had two families, one at home and the children she came to love in her classrooms over the last 16 years.
And when Mrs. Hurd, who went back to school at age 40 to pursue a lifelong dream of teaching, was nearing the end of an eight-year battle with cancer, she wanted to save her most treasured inspirational sayings. In the last few weeks, with help from her husband, Thomas, she wrote down 12 favorites to "share with the world."
Among her favorites: "Failure is nothing but a chance to see other opportunities."
And another: "The only way to the other side is around the wall, through a wall, or over a wall. Never standing in front of the wall."
Mrs. Hurd died Feb. 20 in her Cheektowaga home after a long battle with cancer. She was 61.
Diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago, she had been in remission until the cancer spread and she had to retire from teaching in January 2017.
Born in Orchard Park, the former Cheryl Colley was one of five children. She graduated from Orchard Park High School and married her high school sweetheart, Thomas E. Hurd, on June 18, 1977. They moved to Albuquerque, N.M., a short time later and that is where their first two sons were born. They moved back to the Buffalo area in 1986.
For 18 years, Mrs. Hurd devoted herself to being a mother to her three boys. She was a Cub Scout den leader and all her sons became Eagle Scouts.
Mrs. Hurd entered the workforce at Wegmans. Her goal was no secret. She wanted to receive a Wegmans college scholarship and become a teacher. Within a year of starting work, her scholarship dream came true in 1996, and she juggled her job, her studies and raising her family.
"The biggest thing she has taught me is the meaning of hard work," said Andrew, her second son, who shared morning rides to college with his mother during his freshman year.
Her education launched a successful 16-year career as a family and consumer science teacher at nine Buffalo Public Schools, the latest one Southside Elementary, Public School 93, where she had taught since 2011.
She received two bachelor's degrees, one in hospitality management and another in business education, graduating magna cum laude from SUNY Buffalo State, where she also earned her master's degree in family and consumer science, summa cum laude. She earned three teaching certifications in business education, home economics and as a work study coordinator.
But her students knew her as "Miss Cheryl," the teacher with the hats.
"She had a bag of different crazy hats and she'd put them on. A chef's hat because she cooks, a baseball cap and funny ones," said Andrew. "It was a way to get their attention, and she'd wear them while she taught."
At her first school, Buffalo Elementary School of Technology, she taught sewing and cooking for six years, and stayed after hours to teach word processing to parents and teachers.
During a downsizing of her program, Mrs. Hurd moved to different schools and helped with technology courses, as well. She also helped write test programs, and reviewed and modified testing at the state and local levels.
Throughout her teaching career, she received numerous local state educational awards, including the 2013 Victoria Gangloff Betty Lamp Award.
She served as a youth religious retreat adviser and formerly served as an Episcopalian lay person at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Cheektowaga.
The Hurds' trips early each Christmas season from Buffalo to Albuquerque made special memories, said her sister, Lynn McCarthy. The couple would fly dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and pass out candy canes to children on the planes.
The husband-wife team also were diehard Buffalo Bandits fans, not missing a game in the last five years. The Bandits team recently let the Hurds go into the locker room for an intermission session with the players.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Hurd is survived by her father, Paul Robert Colley; three sons, Robert, Andrew and Nicholas; a brother, Paul Colley Jr.; three sisters, Tammy Ogden, Diane Flack and Lynn McCarthy; and three grandchildren.
A private family service will be held in the spring.