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Life Is Precious
Recently, I received a call from Cheryl Bishop’s beloved nephew Doug Noblet sadly advising me that Cheryl had passed away suddenly from complications from a recent surgery. She was just 71 years old—too young by any measure. Cheryl had only recently sold her bank to Banner Bancorp where she sat on their board of directors. I had great respect and admiration for Cheryl and will miss her friendship dearly.

A Long Friendship
Cheryl and I first met decades ago at the La Conner Tavern when her dad was dying and before she became Co-CEO of Skagit State Bank and ultimately sole CEO. We had a connection from the start and our friendship grew over the years as we built mutual respect and trust. We got through some challenges together, including the departure of her brother as Co-CEO. Cheryl had a big heart and was also as smart as a whip.

The Essence of Elegance
Cheryl put her own stamp on elegance and thoughtfulness. She kept her cards close to the vest, but had great people instincts. One of my fondest memories is how she conducted the Bank’s Annual Shareholders Meeting. Cheryl always kept her remarks short and sweet, but started her presentation by introducing every employee in the audience by name—and there were a ton of employees in attendance. In her last Annual Meeting she gave a sentimental retrospective of the Bank dating back to her dad’s founding of the Bank. It was a touching tribute to her father, who I fortunately got to meet just before his passing.

The Measure of a Person
Cheryl was one of the most cheerful and positive people I have ever met, with her big smile and piercing blue eyes. She treated everyone with kindness and humility and was well loved in all circles. She was a huge supporter of her community and dearly loved her family, particularly all of her nieces and nephews. They spent lots of time at her beach house and Arizona home. After selling the Bank, she took her whole family on a dream tour of Australia.

Her Legacy
Cheryl was a strong and successful bank CEO, a community icon and great aunt, and in every role she played she was warm, kind, loving and approachable. I last had lunch with her at the Olive Garden in Skagit County about six months ago. She also came to my CEO conference a year ago last June. I will miss our lunches and just catching up on our lives, but our friendship will endure forever. I felt she was like the sister I lost many years ago, and they even would have been about the same age. To me, and to many others, Cheryl was and will always be the Queen of Skagit County—leaving a strong legacy of leadership and kindness for those fortunate enough to have known her.