East Lawn Palms Mortuary & Cemetery

5801 East Grant Road, Tucson, AZ

Memorial service will be on Friday, September 25th at 2:00 p.m. Seating is limited (due to COVID). Please contact the family in order to confirm your attendance. Adam can be reached at 520-940-1784.


Cherna Ellen Surlin

September 15, 1956August 20, 2020

Cherna Ellen Surlin, 63, of Tucson, Arizona passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 20, 2020. Cherna was born on September 15, 1956 in New York, New York. She was preceded in death by her parents, Benjamin and Harriet Surlin; brother, Charles Surlin; and the love of her life, Michael Alfani.

Cherna will be terribly missed by her two children, Sarah Paoli-Sanchez and Adam Paoli; son-in-law Sammy J. Sanchez; and grandchildren Carmella Sanchez, Melina Sanchez, and Sammy C. Sanchez.

Cherna enjoyed her retirement after working for more than 20 years as a very dedicated Special Education teacher, who frequently went above and beyond for her students. She attended the University of Arizona, obtaining her Master's degree of Special Education and Bachelor of Science in Vocational Rehabilitation.

Cherna was a dedicated mother and grandmother. She loved spending time with family, caring for her beloved pets, vacationing at the ocean, reading, and listening to rock 'n roll music. Her favorite bands included The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, just to name a few.

She will be fondly remembered for her kindness and generosity.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Casa de los Niños or Tu Nidito.

Please feel free to add a memory or share the page with the buttons below.


25 September

Memorial Service

2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

East Lawn Palms Mortuary

5801 East Grant Road
Tucson, AZ 85712


Cherna Ellen Surlin

have a memory or condolence to add?

Bobbi Paley

September 15, 2020

Cherna was my best friend from the time we were 14-until my early thirties. We were inseparable. Thick as thieves, college roommates, maid of honor, and Godmother to Marc. May she be at peace & her memory be a blessing.

bo mellor

September 13, 2020

we knew we were going to be friends immediately when we met with a group at bowling-i love you, dear cherna, having coffee with you and being together❣️
i miss you☕️💙☕️💙☕️💙

Michael Bellovin

August 31, 2020

I met Cherna through her son Adam. She welcomed me to her home, and made me feel like a part of the family from day one. Cherna was always very nice and welcoming to me. She was always straight forward with me, and wasn't afraid to have a real conversation about any topic. I am grateful to have experienced many good times with Cherna, especially once she got the Rolling Stones rocking.

I will remember Cherna for her fun personality and welcoming heart.

Leasa Conze

August 31, 2020

I met Cherna when her children were just little tykes, in pre-school at Castlehill. We became close because our daughters bonded and our sons became best friends as well. We would shuttle the kids back and forth from my house to her house. We even vacationed together in San Diego by the ocean. Cherna was the most loving person, not a mean bone in her body. She was sensitive, caring, tender, and kind to everyone she met. And she loved my children like her own, and I loved her children like my own. That has continued to this day.
The world has lost a precious person, but her children are her legacy. They will keep her memory alive. So will all of us who knew her.
Sweet, sweet Cherna. We love you still. You will always be with us in spirit. We will not forget your tender soul.

kacy Cullinane

August 30, 2020

What a fun amazing and funny woman! I was fortunate enough to know her twice in my life. Once as a teenager in high school where she introduced me to ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS and again in my late 30's a mother with my own children. I was honored to help care for her in the last year or so andi I loved her as she loved me and my children . Cherna you are dancing with the Angel's now and you will always be in my heart LOVE KC ,V & KILIBEAR ♡

Adam Oseran

August 30, 2020

Cherna was one of the most thoughtful loving people i've met in my life, and will always be remembered as a second Mom to me.

She was so outgoing and caring... Her laughter and smile were infectious and you never knew if she would make some new friend while out with her. I've spent countless nights under her roof... Listening to her favorite music. Listening to her stories. Telling her about my day. Eating some delicious food she got for everyone. ALWAYS having fun. She was always making sure my life was good. She cared for so many people in this same way. You could of been a life long friend. Or a cab driver she met on the way home. She would welcome you into her home and make you feel like family.

I will always miss her smile and blue eyes. The way she called me O. The amazing trips to San Diego. The late nights talking about life. So many things. I am so thankful for her and the love she showed me. But most importantly... I am so thankful for her that she gave this world two amazing kids who I am proud to call my friends.

I love you Cherna and will always remember you.

David Surlin

August 30, 2020

Charna was one of my first cousins. Her father, Benjamin and My father Michael were brothers. Cherna was named for our Grandmother who was murdered in the Holocaust in Poland.
Due to geographical distance and other circumstances I did not get to know Cherna as much as I would have liked. I first met Cherna in 1972 in Israel. She was on a youth tour and I was just visiting. We hit it off right away. But she was locked into the group and could not spend much time with family. After that we only met infrequently when she visited NY or I visited Arizona. However, thru the electronic miracles of the late 20th and early 21st centuries we got to know each other much better! You did not have to meet Cherna face to face to to realize what a good person she was, it came thru the wires and airwaves. Now one of my biggest regrets is going to be that I did not visit Arizona more often.
Rest in peace beautiful Cherna I will miss our phone conversations. And the love you always expressed!
Love you,

Hank Greenberg

August 30, 2020

I met Cherna working at The SLIC( Student Learning Intervention Center) program in 1992! She was an amazing friend and colleague.
She loved her elementary Students and they loved her. We had a close staff and many of us would go to Friday Happy Hour. Cherna was a great dancer and we all had so much fun back then!
Cherna and I continued our friendship after I left SLIC. I would often hang out with her family Sarah/Adam and Michael! Sunday night my job for awhile was to pick up Chinese Food at Lotus Garden! The leftovers would last me a week!
Sending love to everyone!
Cherna will always have a place in my heart💜💜💜💜
Love Hank

Samantha Cline

August 26, 2020

My heartfelt condolences and thoughts and prayers to Cherna's family and friends. I have many fond memories of time spent with Cherna, she always made me feel welcome in her home, she was a beautiful person. May her soul be at peace 🌹❤⚘


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