I first met Cheryl Tompkins about 9 years ago. She was the pharmacist at Stoney Creek Pharmacy inside the old Afton Family Medicine clinic near Bland Wade Road. Shortly after that Cheryl bought the business and continued operating it from that location until moving it to Valley Green Center in 2006. Cheryl was a pistol to say the least. We became instant friends, and always did business there. Her smile was as big as life, and contagious too!
Friday morning I got the call no one ever wants to get. Our friend and that smiling face that thousands came to know behind the counter at Stoney Creek Pharmacy over the years, was gone. “Tommy, I have some bad news. Cheryl is gone. She passed away yesterday, “Tasha Hall told me. She was one of Cheryl’s best friends and had worked with her for years and years at the pharmacy. She’s still there today with the new owners that bought Cheryl out back in 2011.
We followed Cheryl’s battle with breast cancer pretty much from the beginning. She wasn’t bashful about letting people know what she faced and how she was coping. She always told us she wanted people to not be afraid, hoping her story would help people battling cancer feel more at ease about their own journey.
Above: Cheryl pictured in our July 2009, then Nelson County Life, article while undergoing one of her many chemo treatments at UVa in Charlottesville. Click on the image to read that story.
Cheryl initially beat her breast cancer and eventually returned to the pharmacy ready to move on. But, several months later she knew something wasn’t right, sadly the cancer had returned. This time vigorous. But not swayed Cheryl dug in for the fight once again. Eventually it all took a toll and she needed to sell the pharmacy and concentrate on getting herself on the mend.
As hard as she tried, it wasn’t in the cards. Cheryl slipped away from all of us this past Thursday. If there had to be one hero in all of this, and there have been many, it was her husband Allen Cash. Allen married Cheryl some years back knowing he might be facing this day. It didn’t deter him. He loved Cheryl with all of his heart, and stood by her side day and night.
Cheryl hasn’t been behind the counter now at Stoney Creek Pharmacy for well over a year. But I still pictured her there even after she sold it. Now with Cheryl being gone for good. I’ll still picture that perky, happy, smiling pharmacist behind the counter, and remember with a smile her dog Scruffy right there beside her.
RIP Cheryl, you made a big difference in the lives of countless people along the way. It’s your turn to rest now. The pain is gone.
We’ll all miss you dearly.
Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Home in Waynesboro is handling the arrangement, you can click here to get more information on services.