Group 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 demise Monday.
She and husband Don Fleming had been collectively for 40 years and, on Tuesday, he mentioned 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 he or she was so much smarter than me, too,” Don added.
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 group.
“Santa Clarita has misplaced considered one of its best champions,” School of the Canyons Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook mentioned. “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 group via 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 group’s philanthropic organizations, together with the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Basis, Little one & Household Heart, American Most cancers Society, SCV Chamber of Commerce and Boys & Women Membership of SCV, amongst others.
“Cheri was somebody so particular, and everybody who got here involved along with her may simply really feel her power and her ardour. At Henry Mayo, she completely embraced our hospital along with her trademark smile and her unwavering dedication to our applications and our companies,” mentioned Marlee Lauffer, president of Henry Mayo Basis. “She was high-level management, (with) hands-on involvement. She was inspirational and all the time very form. … Henry Mayo appreciates her and misses her, however we all know that her mark lives on all through our hospital, actually.”
Advocate for girls
As a pacesetter within the enterprise group, Fleming discovered a ardour in advocating for girls like herself, together with her government assistant Stephanie Gurne.
“Cheri has been an enormous a part of my life,” Gurne mentioned. “She was my mentor, introducing me to Soroptimist and volunteering. I’ll make her proud and proceed her legacy and can all the time cherish the recollections we had collectively. Cheri was a tremendous lady with a coronary heart of gold.”
“This can be a actual robust one,” Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth added. “Other than being a enterprise chief, Cheri mentored so many members of our group that are actually leaders or have taken the talents from Cheri to different communities, and it positively leaves a gap in our group.”
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 may obtain can be to have helped groom somebody to grow to be my substitute. I reside on daily basis embracing the true mission of Soroptimist, which is to empower others. I by no means really feel threatened by the success of others; relatively, serving to others succeed enriches my very own legacy.”
It was that sentiment that Joan Aschoff, Little one & Household Heart president and CEO, discovered so superb about Fleming, saying that whereas Fleming’s unbelievable 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 realize and but, make all people be ok with the selections, ensure that all people was included within the selections and all people was acknowledged for his or her contribution to the method,” Aschoff mentioned. “She simply had this superb talent of bringing folks collectively and making them really feel like they had been part of it. … She was an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Fleming has additionally been a mentor to native enterprise proprietor and present Soroptimist President Kim Kurowski, who mentioned she’d by no means seen her with out her iconic smile.
“She all the time can elevate 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 buddy to Fleming, agreed with Kurowski, including, “Cheri was all people’s finest buddy. She was a gracious giver of her time, expertise and treasure to everybody she may assist. And, most significantly, she was a tremendous spouse and mom to a really particular household.”
“Cheri and I labored collectively 34 of the 40 years I’ve recognized 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 he or she and Don continued their energetic involvement with nonprofits via this yr, hoping solely to make a optimistic change of their group.
“They only don’t come any higher than the Flemings — they had been an unbelievable couple in our group,” Santa Clarita Councilman Bob Kellar mentioned. “They’ve achieved a lot for this group through the years. I take a look at Cheri’s passing as having misplaced a terrific buddy, not solely personally, however a terrific buddy to this group.”
Legacy will reside on
Group leaders agreed that Fleming’s legacy will reside on throughout the SCV, persevering with to encourage them lengthy after she’s gone.
“Cheri leaves a terrific legacy of magnificence, gentle, absolute class and extraordinary management,” mentioned Greg McWilliams, chief coverage officer and vice chairman of FivePoint Holdings LLC. “We’ll all proceed to embrace that power to make this world and our group a greater place.”
“Cheri’s spirit and fervour will reside on as every of us continues to serve Santa Clarita with the inspiration of her boundless power, infectious enthusiasm and heartfelt generosity,” Van Hook added. “There may be and all the time can 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 could be made at go.soroptimist.org/in-memoriam/cheri-fleming. All donations are anticipated to instantly contribute to aiding Soroptimist’s mission of serving to girls and ladies world wide reside their desires.