‘Aunt Cheryl’ Groner retiringPublished 9:59am Friday, June 28, 2013
Cheryl Groner today closes a 33-year chapter in her life which sounds an awful lot like the next chapter in her life, since the day care provider intends to spend time “enjoying” her five grandchildren.
She began providing day care in 1980 when daughter Angie was 6 months old, twins Derik and Erik were 3 and they lived on Michigan Avenue.
The “homebody” met her husband of 41 years, Floyd, on a blind date.
They lived in Big Rapids for three years after marrying in 1972.
He drove a Frito delivery truck until five years ago, worked a couple of years for Premier and now drives some for the Council on Aging.
In 1988, the Groners moved outside town to Marcellus Highway.
The oldest of seven kids growing up in Marcellus, she is licensed for six children and cared for many teachers’ offspring.
“I had a lot of good families,” she said.
When she started, names around her neighborhood a couple of blocks from downtown included Crandalls, Latourettes and Hawks.
She cared for the past two Miss Dowagiacs, Amanda Hassle and Erica Greenwood. Amanda was one of three Groner alumni graduating with the Class of 2013, along with Marc Tyrakowski and Cal Cox.
“I love babies from about a year to 18 months. That’s my favorite time because they’re cuddly and learning so much,” she said Thursday. “Kids keep you young! I watch little girls for one of Angie’s classmates. I fell into it when we moved into Dowagiac. Justin (Crandall) was 2 when I started watching him. With twins, I was staying home to begin with, then it just started happening. From ’88 to ’90, I did not do day care. I worked for Berrien Teachers (now Honor Credit Union) for two years. A couple of moms kept saying, ‘Don’t you want to go back?’ so I did and became licensed.”
“The requirements are all for good, but they seem unbelievable to me,” said Groner, a former Daily News Hometown Hero. “Fire drills, tornado drills, there are so many things, it’s to the point where it’s going to be a relief to me to be done with. The state came out a couple of times to do inspections. You have to have so many hours of day care classes.”
“Floyd and I enjoy camping,” she said, “and we’ll be able to go on weekends better and spend more time traveling.” She sings in choir at church.
Angie, mother of two, lives in Orange County, Calif. “I went to Disneyland with her. We had a good time.” Her husband previously worked out of Chicago.
Erik lives in Watertown, Wis., and has a daughter. Derik lives in Marcellus on Cheryl’s grandparents’ 30-acre farm. He is the father of two sons.
“I dressed them alike until they were in kindergarten,” she said. “I had a hard time not buying two of everything.”
“I just want to enjoy doing whatever I do,” she said of retirement. “I don’t need a lot to keep me entertained. I enjoy sitting in the backyard by the fire. I enjoy being home, too.”