Dr. Cheryl D. Learn, PhD, 80 years old, passed away surrounded by her loving family on Wednesday, November 24, 2021. Cheryl lived an incredible life, the kind most only dream about. She shared many experiences and was happily married to Emerson Learn for almost 50 years. They met in upstate New York and had many adventures together. Cheryl and Emerson raised three children, their son George Learn (Suzanne Learn), and daughters Deborah Learn Breitfeld and Rachel Learn Mayercek (Sean Mayercek).
Cheryl was an attentive loving mother and role model to her children. All three of her children grew into successful adults.
Cheryl was also a beloved and doting grandmother to her five grandchildren, George Learn V, Grace Learn, Lorelei Breitfeld, Gretchen Breitfeld and Ian Mayercek. She donned the title “Grandma Cheryl” which later was condensed to “GMC”.
Cheryl was predeceased by her husband Emerson and brother Patrick Demerath and is survived by her children, grandchildren and many nephews and nieces.
Cheryl and Emerson spent many of their “empty-nest” years as birders, at the National Wildlife Refuge Bosque Del Apache, their family cabin in Taos, and traveling to exotic places to see the local wildlife. They became docents at the Bosque and were very involved with the “Friends of Bosque Del Apache” a non-
profit organization that supports the refuge programs. In addition, they established an endowment to help bring more children to the refuge.
In addition to being an avid birder, Cheryl was also an accomplished knitter, loved plants and nature becoming a Master Gardener, and she loved her dachshunds, and many dogs before that. She had a great sense of humor and always enjoyed a good party.
Dr. Learn had a remarkable career in nursing and in 2010 earned The Legends in Nursing Award. Educating nurses was always an integral part of Dr. Learn’s career which brought her great satisfaction. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in Denver, after obtaining her Master’s degree while working at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing. At the time, she was one of the first women in the state of New Mexico to earn a Ph.D. in Nursing. Dr. Learn taught countless students over the years, including those in rural areas of New Mexico. Dr. Learn helped to develop and establish the first Distance Learning Program at the University of New Mexico. During the summers in the early 1980s, her daughters would often watch their mom teach on public access TV.
As Dr. Learn aged into a beautiful senior citizen, many of her former students reappeared in her life. When Dr. Learn needed healthcare, it was not surprising when she would run into one of her previous students. As Dr. Learn’s health declined, more and more nurses seemed to appear at her bedside and would often say things like,”I had Dr. Learn as an instructor. She was wonderful! She taught me……” (Here is a story about one of these experiences. hsc.unm.edu )
Dr. Learn has greatly impacted the lives of her family, children, friends and countless students during her 80 years of life. She was deeply loved and will be greatly missed.
“Hummingbird: With brave wings she flies, spread your wings and prepare to soar.”
In lieu of flowers, Dr, Learn and the family ask for donations to be made to: The friends of the Bosque Del Apache –
friendsofbosquedelapache.org/or the UNM College of Nursing, hsc.unm.edu/
Cheryl’s Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, June 4 at 11 a.m. at Hope in the Desert Episcopal Church, 8700 Alameda, N.E., Albuquerque, N.M. www.hopepiscopal.org and all are welcome. Cheryl’s favorite color was royal blue so feel free to wear or accessorize with that color.