Cheryl Markoff Powers
1960 - 2020
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Longtime Lawrence resident Cheryl Markoff Powers, 60, died suddenly on September 25th at her home in Alexandria, VA.
She was born in Cleveland, OH on May 18, 1960. She spent the late 1970s in Boston as a leader in LRY (Liberal Religious Youth), a youthrun national Unitarian Universalist organization, through which she met the future love of her life, Richard "Dick" Powers (whom she immediately disliked). Following time spent living in the San Francisco Bay Area, she moved to Lawrence, KS to be with Dick, having finally come around on him. They were married in 1983.
Cheryl graduated from the University of Kansas in 1986 with a Bachelor of Social Work. She was eight months pregnant at that point and often would joke about walking down the Hill during graduation, feeling like she was smuggling a beach ball.
Cheryl was a loving, hardworking mother and a fierce advocate for children. Though Cheryl always missed living in California, she flourished in Lawrence. She was one of the earliest employees at The Merc, she took a leading role in introducing organic foods to local supermarket chains, spent years fighting against pesticides being allowed in public parks, served for many years as the director of religious education at Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church and later Plymouth Congregational Church, and spent several years as a mediator and an advisor to the Kansas Supreme Court.
Following a divorce and retirement due to deteriorating health, she moved to Alexandria, VA to be closer to her granddaughter last year.
Cheryl was vivacious, stubborn, and genuinely kind. She judged people for lots of reasons, but never for things they couldn't control, and she never stopped fighting for the causes she believed in. Her favorite hobbies were gardening, making cards, and other crafts. Her two favorite colors were rainbows and glitter, her favorite film was Harold and Maude, and her biggest regrets in life were not getting a tattoo and not sleeping with Mick Jagger.
Cheryl is survived by her two children Caleb (Emma) Powers and Cara Powers; her beloved granddaughter Clementine; her mother, Joan (John) Anthony; siblings Kim (Clark) Schieb, Randy Markoff, Terry (Sabine) Markoff, and Sean Markoff; several foster siblings; and many wonderful nieces, nephews, and cousins. She is preceded in death by her father Edgar Markoff; her stepfather, John "Denny" Anthony; and her foster mother Caroline "Kim" Newcomer.
The family will hold an inperson memorial service once it is safe to travel. In the meantime, should you wish to remember her, please do so in two ways: 1.) Make a donation to a local children's charity of your choice, and 2.) On November 3rd get out there and vote that giant orange buffoon out of office. It's what Cheryl would want

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Lawrence Journal-World on Oct. 6, 2020.
Please consider a donation, as requested by the family.
Memories & Condolences
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7 entries
October 22, 2020
From all of Cheryl's friends at Meadowlark Estates in Lawrence, Kansas, we miss you dearly and will always remember what a bright light she brought to our lives. We are so happy she had time to spend with her family. May Cheryl rest in peace.
Friends at Meadowlark Estates
October 12, 2020
We are so so sorry to hear that Cheryl has left this world. Stu (Shafer) and I have so many fond memories of her from the old Merc days. We moms talked a lot about kids and she loved you so much, Caleb and Cara! She was a caring, loving person with a lot of integrity, and we are sad that we will not run into her again. One of the bright lights from my nursing career was briefly having Cheryl for my patient. She lit up that room! We send all of our deepest wishes for happy lives to you Dick, Caleb and Cara!
P.S. We loved that obituary, best we ever read!
Patti Dickinson
October 10, 2020
Caleb and Cara, I'm stunned and so sorry about the loss of your beautiful, dynamic mother. I'm glad for the years I knew her as your proud and beaming mom. Love to you and those you love, and peace. (Damn straight I'll vote as she'd want me to.)
Mary Chapman
October 8, 2020
Cheryl.... Thank you for all of the contributions you made to the wonderful non-profit groups in Lawrence and beyond. You made the most of this life.
Rick Sheridan
October 7, 2020

I am so sorry about the passing of your mother. Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time. Cheryl sounded like an amazing woman with a great sense of humor. Rest assured, I will be granting her wish by voting for Joe Biden in the upcoming presidential election!


Nancy Hedrick
Nancy Hedrick
October 7, 2020
A model human being. Unforgettable.
Lewis Hinshaw
October 7, 2020
Cara and Caleb, we were so sorry to hear about the loss of your amazing mom. We have so many wonderful memories of her time at Plymouth – she brought such energy and creativity to the children's education program. Kris, Chuck, Will and Gillian Marsh
Kris Marsh
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