St. George residents received the news of Cherie Yattaw’s unexpected death on October 2 with shock, sadness and a deep sense of loss.
The daughter of Harold and Marguerite Stairs Pratt, Cherie was born in Rockland in 1949 and graduated from Rockland High School in 1967. Shortly after graduation she married Kip Yattaw and together they raised two sons and a daughter in Port Clyde and in recent years enjoyed the arrival of four grandchildren and a great granddaughter. For 28 years Cherie was employed at Outward Bound School. She joined the staff at the St. George Town Office 12 years ago.
In the days that followed her death, encounters between friends, neighbors and co-workers prompted many personal reflections on Cherie’s most memorable qualities as she carried out her responsibilities for the town—early on as assessing clerk and secretary to the Planning Board and most recently as Office Manager: Her open-hearted smile of welcome when a person, any person, arrived at the front counter of the Town Office seeking assistance. Her penchant for providing holiday-appropriate decor in the front office. The warm hug that signaled her pleasure for the chance to reconnect if she hadn’t seen someone in a while. Her ready willingness to find the answers needed to questions large and small. Her commitment to making a day-long holiday shopping trip an event laced with thoughtful surprises and cheerful foolishness designed to foster a spirit of festive camaraderie (think Cherie wearing reindeer antlers or snowflake glasses or a Santa’s stocking cap). And not least, her experienced competence which made her so invaluable when it came to providing staff support for town boards and committees and to ensuring that the town’s administrative functions were carried out smoothly and efficiently.
Cherie’s upbeat and outgoing personality, the friendly atmosphere she created just by being herself and the commitment to service she embodied were her great gifts to St. George. It is why, when residents speak of her now, more often than not they speak of “our dear Cherie.”