Cheryl Robinson Thornburg

Due to the stay-at-home order because of the coronavirus, the last interview I had the opportunity to do face-to-face was "100 Women of Phoenixville with Dodi Shrunk." In the upcoming weeks, one of the 126 weekly interviews that were previous published in The Phoenix will be shared. This interview was originally published Sept. 3, 2017.

Cheryl Robinson Thornburg and I have worked together for about one year at The Phoenix but when we met for brunch, it was the first time we actually met in person. She was my community features editor and liaison to The Phoenix. After meeting me, she decided to move to New Mexico. Well, there is another reason other than that.

Cheryl, originally from Reading, Berks County, went out into the world, returning to Reading 13 years ago to care for her mother. Along the way, she got married, had three children (2 girls & a boy), and got a divorce.

At that time, she started to work for The Mercury in Pottstown. Then became associated with sister newspapers Berks-Mont Newspapers, a group of weekly community papers.

Cheryl really enjoyed living in the area. As a “people person,” she liked what was at her door, including the theaters, the arts, the culture.

About a year ago, her children and their families and their father, David Thornburg, planned a family reunion in David’s town of Glenwood, New Mexico — population 500. Her daughter convinced her to join in and come along and she did.

After being divorced from each other for 20 or so years, Cheryl & David rekindled and once again found they still cared for each other. So Cheryl decided to retire and move to New Mexico and a slower pace of life.

She planned to return to her sculpting and writing and illustrating children’s books. The local library is the heart of Glenwood. There is no television connection and only Verizon phone service. But there are internet connections and WiFi.

At the end of July, Cheryl, her cat T.J. (for Thomas Jefferson) were driven by her nephew, Darrin Dougherty, the 2,200 miles to New Mexico via 16-foot truck, towing her car behind.

Since this interview, Cheryl & Dave Thornburg still live in Glenwood. She is busy with her library work and she writes a monthly article “What’s Happening in Glenwood" for the local paper.

Both she & David enjoy cooking. There is a lot of outdoor cooking in New Mexico year-round. But Cheryl is of Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and taking along her recipes.

A very different cookie among so many cookie recipes is her Chocolate cutout cookies. Most traditional cutout cookies are made from a white sugar cookie recipe. It is never too early to think about holiday baking.


1/2 cup butter

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

4 Tbsp. cocoa powder

½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325-degrees. Cream butter & sugar, add egg & vanilla & beat until fluffy. Combine all the dry ingredients – add into creamed mixture gradually. Chill dough for at least one hour. Roll out on floured work surface or between 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper. You can substitute a little cocoa powder for white flour when rolling out. Cut out with cookie cutter(s) or rim of glass. Place on ungreased or parchment paper baking sheets. Sprinkle with white or colored sugar if desired. Bake 8 to 10 minutes – makes 2-3 dozen depending on size of shape. You can double this recipe.


Contact columnist Bette Banjack at Search YouTube – with BetteBanjack as well as (search bar Banjack). She can also be found on Facebook.

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