Cheryl Ann Karvonen


Cheryl Ann Karvonen

Date of Birth: August 7, 1944
Date of Death: August 6, 2017

Cheryl Ann (Nevala) Karvonen, age 72, passed from her life on this earth on Sunday, August 6, 2017, at UP Health System – Marquette.

Cheryl was born August 7, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, a daughter of Ethel (Rantanen) Nevala and Matheau Nevala. After Matt completed his military obligation with the US Army in Chicago, the young family moved to Matt’s hometown, Marquette, Michigan. Cheryl began her education at the Fisher Street Elementary School in Marquette. Her father secured employment with the Michigan Department of Corrections and moved his family to Jackson, Michigan, where he was assigned to the Jackson State Prison as a corrections officer. After one year, Matt was transferred to the Marquette Branch Prison, again as a corrections officer, and the family established residence in Marquette once again. Cheryl was now a second grader and was enrolled in the former Froebel School, where she stayed for her entire second and third grades. The following year, Cheryl was enrolled in Northern Michigan University’s John D. Pierce Laboratory School, remaining there until the school closed in 1961, when she transferred to the Graveraet High School, where she remained until her graduation in 1962. Throughout her youth, Cheryl was actively involved in many church and school organizations and activities. She sang in the church choirs, was a Sunday School teacher and eventually, its superintendent, was an active member of the Luther League, serving as its president, attending church camp every summer at Fortune Lake, both as a regular camper as well as a counselor. During the above activities, Cheryl became particularly interested in the health care of others, so it was a logical next step for her to enroll at St. Luke’s school of Nursing in Marquette, completing her work toward her diploma in nursing and state licensure, becoming a Registered Nurse. As a new RN, Cheryl traveled to Dearborn, Michigan, where she was employed at Oakwood Hospital, where she experienced a wide variety of nursing experiences and care. Cheryl, thus became a well prepared and experienced RN, with many new options available in the nursing field. For a period of seven years, Cheryl would take a summer leave from her position at Oakwood, and travel to Big Bay, where she was employed as the camp nurse at Bay Cliff Health Camp. After these seven busy years, Cheryl enrolled in Northern Michigan University’s nursing education program in order to obtain her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. While attending NMU, she was recruited by St. Luke’s Hospital in Marquette to a position of in-service instructor. After one year in this position, she was asked to take on a position as a regular instructor in that hospital’s School of Nursing. Cheryl completed her studies for her BSN degree in December 1972 and was hired immediately by Northern Michigan University as an instructor in Community Health Nursing. This latter position required a move to Hancock, in the Copper Country, where she taught NMU nursing students in Community Health Nursing. As arrangements for her student’s experiences were made, one was assignment to local schools. It was at one of these school assignments that Cheryl met the man who would become her future husband, Donald Karvonen, who was the Superintendent of the Allouez Township Schools in Keweenaw County. In July of 1973, Don and Cheryl were wed at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Marquette, after which the couple settled in their first home in the village of Mohawk. In the following summer (1974) Cheryl gave birth to the couple’s son, Bradley. During the years following her son’s birth, she devoted herself to the upbringing of her son, taking temporary leave from her employment as a nurse. During these years, Cheryl spent time as a volunteer at her local church, the Bethany Lutheran Church of Keweenaw, becoming involved as a volunteer in various women’s groups, as well as the church’s Sunday School. After Bradley entered kindergarten in the local school, Cheryl accepted a position at the Calumet Public Hospital as In-Service Instructor. This position lasted for five years, after which she accepted a position with Suomi College (now Finlandia University) in Hancock as an instructor in the school’s AD/RN nursing program. After a period of three years, Cheryl was asked to assume the position of Director of the school’s School of Nursing. During her first two years in this position, Cheryl led her faculty in making application for and being accepted by the Michigan Board of Nursing. During this period of time, Cheryl completed her studies and obtained her Master’s Degree in Nursing at NMU. While she was employed at Suomi College, Cheryl was recruited by Northern Michigan University to assume the position of Director of the school’s Licensed Practical Nursing program. After several years in this leadership position, she decided to join her husband in retirement. Cheryl enjoyed her retired life with her husband, Donald, always looking back with satisfaction on the many years she spent in nursing and nursing education, and at the many persons she was instrumental in preparing for the role in nursing in today’s world. Cheryl was a member of Messiah Lutheran Church.

Cheryl is survived by her son, Bradley Karvonen of Marquette; her sister, Patricia Nevala of Grand Rapids; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Donald, in 2015; and by her brother, Dennis Nevala in 1997.

Friends may call at Messiah Lutheran Church, Marquette, on Thursday, August 10, beginning at 1:00 pm until the time of service at 2:00 pm Thursday afternoon. Rev. David Van Kley and Rev. Amanda Kossow will officiate. Interment will be made at Northland Chapel Gardens, Negaunee Township. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Bay Cliff Health Camp, P.O. Box 310, Big Bay, MI 49808.

The Swanson-Lundquist Funeral Home is serving the family, where condolences may be expressed online at

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