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Cherie Gay Buford

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Memories & Candles

“Both at C.L. Smith and at San Luis High School I remember Cherie. We were classmates and I would see her laughing and goofing off with the other...Read More »
1 of 2 | Posted by: Kevin Bright - San Luis Obispo,, CA

“Cherie meant a lot to me and my family. Her unique laugh and beautiful smile were infectious as her many good friends will attest. She will be...Read More »
2 of 2 | Posted by: Lance Young - Tucson, AZ - Friend


Surrounded by friends and family, Cherie Gay Federer Buford passed away on May 20. She was born in Rawlings, Wyoming, in 1955 to Judy and Dale Federer. The family moved to San Luis Obispo in 1963 when her father joined the Cal Poly faculty. Cherie attended Bellevue Santa Fe and C.L. Smith elementary schools, San Luis Obispo Junior High, and San Luis Obispo Senior High. In her youth, Cherie was active in 4H, enjoyed horseback riding, developed lasting friendships, loved her pets, and enthusiastically celebrated birthdays and other life events.

After graduating from high school in 1974, Cherie obtained her real estate license while waitressing at a French restaurant in Newport Beach. As a realtor, she came up with innovative promotions. In 1983 she began working at the Lemoore store of the Buford Star Mart chain and was instrumental in the success of five other convenience stores. When a new store opened in Riverdale in 1987, she move there as manager. A few years ago, she returned to the family home overlooking Avila Valley and the Pacific Ocean where she lived with her siblings and son. She decorated with flair the vacation rental on the property and used her management skills in the operation of the business. She also worked at Bed Bath and Beyond until interrupted by cancer.

Cherie appreciated all kinds of music from reggae played at Avila Beach Farmers' Market to classical performed by the San Luis Obispo Symphony Orchestra. She served as an usher at the Center for Performing Arts at Cal Poly. She was an enthusiastic supporter of the annual Martin Luther King Junior BBQ , a fundraiser for the scholarship for local high school graduates set up by her father and others. And while Cherie always delighted in the festivities of birthdays and holidays, she also gratefully celebrated the morning fog and glorious sunsets, the visit of graceful hummingbirds, the unconditional love of her pets, the bond she enjoyed with her friends and family, and general human kindness.

In recent years, Cherie especially enjoyed traveling with her mother and sisters. They made a land-and-sea trip to Alaska where they saw the highest mountain peak in the continental United States. Stopovers on their Mediterranean cruise included tours of Italy and Turkey. They cruised through the Panama Canal. They also took pleasure in rafting on the Truckee River. In 2014, with her father and sisters, she was in Irvine for her son Brett's graduation from the University of California.

Cherie was preceded in death by her parents. She is survived by her son Brett Buford, sisters Deborah Coy and Teresa Federer, brother Michael, foster brother Grant, aunt Kay Dangerfield, and many cousins and friends.

A memorial service will be held at 1:30pm Mountainbrook Community Church on Saturday, August 5.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Central Coast Hospice, 235 Granada Drive, San Luis Obispo CA 93401, or Mountainbrook Community Church, 1775 Calle Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.