Obituary-Cheryl Skupa

Cheryl Ruth Barkman was born on October 30, 1961, to Jean and Ed Barkman in Enid, OK.  She grew up singing in the children’s choir at Parkside Mennonite Brethren Church in Tulsa.  It was there that she realized her need for a savior, became a believer, and later was baptized in 1972.  The Barkman family, Ed, Jean, and children Keith, Cheryl and Linda, joined Wycliffe Bible Translators, went through training in Norman, Oklahoma; Chiapas, Mexico; and Waxhaw, North Carolina.  In 1974 they moved to Brazil.

As a missionary kid, Cheryl and her siblings were profoundly influenced by God’s work in the lives of the poor Brazilians who worked in the area, the indigenous people of Brazil, and the translators who spent years rendering God’s Word into complex languages.  A special event occurred in the summer of her sophomore year in high school when she went with translator Rose Dobson to the Kayabi tribe.  During that month long trip Cheryl was able to help type simple reading books to help Kayabi individuals read.  She played pre-reading games with children, listened to the stories (translated by Rose) from the old people, and learned to build a fire and dry fish from a very old toothless lady who was her self-appointed “jungle tutor.’

 In 1979 Cheryl attended Oklahoma Bible Academy in Meno, Oklahoma, for her last year of high school, then studied at Grace College of the Bible in Omaha, Nebraska.  Confused about where God was leading her, Cheryl ended up on staff at Markoma Bible School in Talequah, Oklahoma, as a sort of last resort.  But God was leading even so.  She ended up working on staff four years in laundry, kitchen, dorm, library, and tutoring.

In 1989, after much hesitation and just four months after the events of Tiananmen Square, God lead Cheryl to People’s Republic of China to teach English.  It was a difficult and wondrous year as Cheryl made friends with non-Christians and Christians who had faced hardship and persecution in the Cultural Revolution years.

After another degree, Cheryl returned to Markoma Christian School as an English teacher. 

At this time in her life when she imagined that she would stay single and childless forever, God brought Bryan Skupa into her life.  They went canoeing on the Illinois River as their first date (who caused the canoe to flip is still a matter of debate).  They were married in the Markoma gym on December 29, 2001.  Two years later God again blessed them with a surprise, a child.  Laura Larayne was born on December 20, 2003.

Cheryl enjoyed joining Bryan as he worked in beekeeping for Brown Honey Farms.  They were involved in Teens for Christ, and ministries at Morrowville Christian Church.  When the Beekeeping business relocated, Bryan worked for Bradford Built and Cheryl began teaching part time at Cloud County Community College.  Then in 2009, Bryan went back to school and became a nurse.  In those years God allowed the privilege of visiting Brazil twice and ministering at Echo Ranch Bible Camp in Juneau, Alaska.  Cheryl also found a new joy teaching children’s Sunday School.  All of this happened after Cheryl’s diagnosis of cancer.

God was still faithful in bringing joy into the Skupa family.  Even after their plans to return to Echo Ranch Bible Camp a third time were interrupted in the Spring on 2022 with a return of Cheryl’s cancer, leading Cheryl to the verse:  “The angel of the Lord encamps around them that fear Him, and He delivers them.”  Psalm 34:7

Cheryl passed away on November 24, 2023, at the age of 62.

Funeral Services will be Friday, December 1, 2023, at 10:00 a.m., at the Morrowville Christian Church, burial will follow at the Haddam City Cemetery.

Visitation will be Thursday, November 30th, from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with family greeting friends from 6pm – 8pm, at Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home in Belleville.

Memorials are requested to the Morrowville Christian Church or the Cheryl Skupa Memorial to benefit Missions and Mission Work, and may be sent to Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home, PO Box 566, Belleville, Kansas, 66935.

Tibbetts-Fischer Funeral Home is assisting the Skupa family with these arrangements,

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