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Dutson, Christine, 1954-



  • Existence: 1954-


Christine Brewington was born in Toledo, Ohio on April 29, 1954. She was the eldest of nine children raised by her mother, Laureen Kwart, and her mother's husband, Robert Brewington. As a child, she moved frequently throughout California. She was painfully aware of her family's poverty and her mother's bouts with mental illness. She craved affection, attention, stability, and order – she found peace at school and as a member of the Roman Catholic church. She took joy in academic and creative pursuits and in dating, but yearned to be a nun. She became a novice in the Order of Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart on October 3, 1972. In late 1974, she left before taking vows because she felt that 'religious practices did not coincide with Biblical teachings.'

Once back home, Brewington began corresponding with a family friend, Army radio operator Eugene Lloyd Cheek. Within months, their friendship blossomed into love and they married on December 6, 1975 at La Puente, California. As an Army wife, Cheek soon found herself living on a military base in Germany. There, she gave birth to the couple's first child, Craig, on November 3, 1976. The family moved back to the United States in 1978, settling in Missouri at Fort Leonard Wood. On May 8, 1978, Cheek gave birth to their second child, Carrie. In 1980, her husband returned to civilian life. The family moved to Fort Madison, Iowa in pursuit of better employment for Eugene Cheek and better educational and spiritual opportunities for the family as a whole.

Cut off from the support of family and friends, Cheek struggled with the dual challenges of motherhood and wifehood. She knew her income (as a dietary worker, then as a day care provider) was crucial to family survival, but she longed to stay home with her children and to get a college education. Moreover, although her family remained active in the local Catholic church, she felt that there was something missing in her faith life. During this time of readjustment and maturing, missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) visited the Cheek household. She and her husband were baptized on July 17, 1982 and became active members of the church. Cheek's faith sustained her through mounting debts, near-constant moves between Iowa and Illinois, the failure of business ventures, recurrent bouts of ill health, educational disappointments, and the worsening mental health of extended family members.

In the church, she found the support and perspective for which she'd longed. She gained the confidence to express herself creatively, publishing a number of poems and writing countless others. Despite numerous setbacks, Cheek also persevered and obtained a BS in Education from Western Illinois University in 1989. She became a teacher of the gifted and talented in southeastern Iowa, receiving professional recognition for her work. Equally importantly, she learned to take pride in the accomplishments of Mormon womanhood – she improved her homemaking, gardening, and food preservation skills, became an accomplished genealogist and craftsperson, worked as a visiting teacher, and celebrated her motherhood. She was also called to serve in several different capacities in her church. The death of her husband in 1990 was made bearable by the knowledge that, according to Mormon belief, their marriage was an eternal one; they would be reunited after death.

Cheek remarried on June 27, 1992, to Lorin LaMont Dutson; she has two step-children, Chantal and Christopher. She has one grandchild, Anne-Marie Sattler, daughter of Chantal Sattler. Although no longer teaching in the public school system, she still conducts educational workshops for her home organization business. She continues to keep a journal of reflections describing her daily affairs, her intellectual life, and her efforts at spiritual growth in these 'latter days.'

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Christine Dutson papers

Identifier: IWA0249

Multi-volume memoir of a Mormon woman who was an educator, poet and advocate for the mentally ill.

Dates: 1954 - 2002