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Remembering philanthropist, community activist Cheri Fleming


Neighborhood leaders, family and friends from throughout the Santa Clarita Valley mourned the lack of well-known philanthropist and local people activist Cheri Fleming, co-owner of Valencia Acura, following the announcement of her dying Monday.

She and husband Don Fleming had been collectively for 40 years and, on Tuesday, he stated his coronary heart is damaged. 

“She was my guiding gentle. She was my inspiration. She was my compass. She was all of these issues, and she or he was so much smarter than me, too,” Don added. 

Don and Cheri Fleming with their 2019 Silver Spur Award for neighborhood service on Saturday, March 19, 2019 on the Silver Spur Celebration. Courtesy of Tom Cruze

The Flemings moved to the SCV after buying Valencia Acura in 1997, and as they labored to show it into one of many prime Acura dealerships in buyer loyalty and gross sales, Fleming labored to raised her new neighborhood.

“Santa Clarita has misplaced one in all its biggest champions,” Faculty of the Canyons Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook stated. “In her service to others, Cheri Fleming confirmed us the profound influence that one particular person could make within the lives of others, and in shaping a whole neighborhood by way of her actions, phrases, excessive requirements and look after others.”

Fleming felt it her obligation to present again and instantly dove head-first into her new neighborhood’s philanthropic organizations, together with the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Basis, Little one & Household Middle, American Most cancers Society, SCV Chamber of Commerce and Boys & Ladies Membership of SCV, amongst others.

“Cheri was somebody so particular, and everybody who got here involved along with her might simply really feel her vitality and her ardour. At Henry Mayo, she completely embraced our hospital along with her trademark smile and her unwavering dedication to our packages and our companies,” stated Marlee Lauffer, president of Henry Mayo Basis. “She was high-level management, (with) hands-on involvement. She was inspirational and all the time very type. … Henry Mayo appreciates her and misses her, however we all know that her mark lives on all through our hospital, actually.”

Holly Schroeder, Cheri Fleming and Assemblywoman Christy Smith attend the fifteenth annual 51 Santa Clarita’s Most Influential 2019 Luncheon held at Salt Creek Grille on Thursday, November 21, 2019. Dan Watson/The Sign

Advocate for girls

As a pacesetter within the enterprise neighborhood, Fleming discovered a ardour in advocating for girls like herself, together with her govt assistant Stephanie Gurne.

“Cheri has been a giant a part of my life,” Gurne stated. “She was my mentor, introducing me to Soropitimist and volunteering. I’ll make her proud and proceed her legacy and can all the time cherish the recollections we had collectively. Cheri was an incredible girl with a coronary heart of gold.”

“This can be a actual powerful one,” Mayor Cameron Smyth added. “Other than being a enterprise chief, Cheri mentored so many members of our neighborhood that are actually leaders or have taken the abilities from Cheri to different communities, and it positively leaves a gap in our neighborhood.” 

From left, Holly Schroeder, Cheri Fleming and Jill Mellady shared management recommendation with the NextSCV group on Wednesday evening at Valencia Acura. Steve Kiggins/The Sign

When requested what being a mentor has meant to her in her final interview in October, Fleming replied, “I’m profitable if I assist others discover success, which is why mentoring is so necessary to me. The best praise I might obtain could be to have helped groom somebody to grow to be my alternative. I dwell each day embracing the true mission of Soroptimist, which is to empower others. I by no means really feel threatened by the success of others; fairly, serving to others succeed enriches my very own legacy.”

It was that sentiment that Joan Aschoff, Little one & Household Middle president and CEO, discovered so superb about Fleming, saying that whereas Fleming’s unimaginable kindness struck her, it was additionally how a lot of an astute businesswoman she was.

“As (board) chair, she would assist us obtain what we wanted to attain and but, make everyone be ok with the choices, make sure that everyone was included within the choices and everyone was acknowledged for his or her contribution to the method,” Aschoff stated. “She simply had this superb ability of bringing individuals collectively and making them really feel like they have been part of it. … She was an absolute pleasure to work with.”

Michael Berger introduces Cheri Fleming on the Little one & Household Middle board set up at Sand Canyon Nation Membership Thursday night. Cory Rubin/The Sign

Enterprise mentor

Fleming has additionally been a mentor to native enterprise proprietor and present Soroptimist President Kim Kurowski, who stated she’d by no means seen her with out her iconic smile.

“She all the time can increase you up, it doesn’t matter what your emotions,” Kurowski added. “She’s all the time there with a form phrase or good recommendation. She was all the time there for everyone.”

Teresa Todd, publicist and good friend to Fleming, agreed with Kurowski, including, “Cheri was everyone’s greatest good friend. She was a gracious giver of her time, expertise and treasure to everybody she might assist. And, most significantly, she was an incredible spouse and mom to a really particular household.”

From left: GLANCDA Govt Director Bob Smith, COC Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook, Paul Wickline, COC affiliate vice chairman of instructional pathways, Max Picado, Valencia Acura service supervisor, and Valencia Acura co-owner Cheri Fleming. Courtesy picture

“Cheri and I labored collectively 34 of the 40 years I’ve identified her,” son Brian Fleming added. “We had some superb occasions that made for a wild and loopy life’s journey.”

Her service to native organizations by no means appeared to tire, and she or he and Don continued their lively involvement with nonprofits by way of this 12 months, hoping solely to make a constructive change of their neighborhood.

“They simply don’t come any higher than the Flemings — they have been an unimaginable couple in our neighborhood,” Santa Clarita Councilman Bob Kellar stated. “They’ve completed a lot for this neighborhood through the years. I take a look at Cheri’s passing as having misplaced an excellent good friend, not solely personally, however an excellent good friend to this neighborhood.”

Don and Cheri Fleming, winners of the 2019 Silver Spur Award, with Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, chancellor of Faculty of the Canyons, and Roger Van Hook (cq). Courtesy of Tom Cruze

Legacy will dwell on

Neighborhood leaders agreed that Fleming’s legacy will dwell on throughout the SCV, persevering with to encourage them lengthy after she’s gone.

“Cheri leaves an excellent legacy of magnificence, gentle, absolute class and extraordinary management,” stated Greg McWilliams, chief coverage officer and vice chairman of FivePoint Holdings LLC. “We are going to all proceed to embrace that energy to make this world and our neighborhood a greater place.”

“Cheri’s spirit and fervour will dwell on as every of us continues to serve Santa Clarita with the inspiration of her boundless vitality, infectious enthusiasm and heartfelt generosity,” Van Hook added. “There’s and all the time will likely be a particular place in my coronary heart and my soul occupied by Cheri Fleming.”

In lieu of flowers, the household has established a legacy fund and donations will be made at go.soroptimist.org/in-memoriam/cheri-fleming. All donations are anticipated to immediately contribute to aiding Soroptimist’s mission of serving to ladies and women all over the world dwell their goals.

Cheri Fleming, left, and Don Fleming, co-owners of the Valencia Acura dealership, have been named the recipients of the Silver Spur Neighborhood Service Award. The ceremony is about for March 2019.



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