Valued neighbor and dear friend to many, Terry Lee House passed away in his Black River Sheboygan home on November 18, 2021, at age 78. Terry was born in Annapolis, Maryland, where his father attended the U. S. Naval Academy. He grew up in Iowa, and graduated from Bettendorf High School and the University of Iowa. He served his country in the Vietnam conflict in the U.S. Army and was honorably discharged from both the U. S. Army and U. S. Airforce. Though Terry was not one to center conversation about himself or his interests, people who knew him were aware of his love of classical music, trivia, movies, early cartoons, military history, and cars.
Before moving to Wisconsin, Terry worked for many years in the Chicago area for Allstate Insurance, where he made videos on safe driving. He loved to relate how he was pulled over and accused of speeding by a Chicago police officer, who after mentioning he had a large family to feed repeated several times “What are we going to do about this, Terry?” Unsure of how to respond to what the officer was saying, Terry opted to accept the ticket and go to traffic court. When the officer didn’t appear, the charges were dismissed under the condition that Terry agree to watch a safe-driving video. It turned out he was required to watch a video that he himself had created for Allstate Insurance!
After researching different options, it was decided after retirement to locate in the Black River area of Sheboygan. Terry soon found a local trivia game, where he went by himself for the first time to compete against several other teams, each with several different trivia experts spanning different areas. When he single-handedly defeated the other teams, he was quickly welcomed to join a team. Sara Herzog and other members of the trivia league soon became part of his social network.
Terry was much loved by those who knew him. He was “family” to his neighbors Donna Menzer and Jim Schultz, and a regular part of their family gatherings, especially for holidays. Days before he died, Terry shared with them that he felt blessed to live in the beautiful Black River area with so many wonderful friends and neighbors.
Terry loved to listen to classical music at home and in the car. He became a major supporter of the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra as the sponsor of guest artists, each of whom he got to meet and join for lunch. He proudly displayed their autographed photos in his home. SSO administrators acknowledge that his support was crucial to the orchestra’s continuing success. In the words of Josh Hernday, Executive Director, “Terry was not only a major supporter of the SSO, but was a member of the SSO family and a dear friend to many of us. He was unfailingly kind. We will cherish the memories of our lunches together and seeing him in his usual seat at our concerts.” The SSO plans to honor Terry at a future concert.
During his deployment to Vietnam, Terry had the unenviable duty of recovering the bodies of those killed in action, once injured in the line of duty when he fell from a helicopter. He was a member of American Legion Post #83. In 2019 several of his friends and hundreds of other supporters welcomed him and other veterans back to General Mitchell International Airport on their return from an Honor Flight to Washington, DC.
Terry loved to drive in the Kettle Moraine hills in his bright red Miata, often with his uncle, Paul Burmeister, who frequently came from Davenport, Iowa, to visit. In addition to his uncle, Terry is survived by a sister, Jane (Jim) Campbell and niece Amanda Dragoo of Glenview, Arizona; nephew Scott (Anna) Dragoo of Davenport; niece Suzette (Landis) Abrams of Peoria, Arizona; and several grandnieces and grandnephews. His parents and a younger brother Steve preceded him in death.
Terry regularly participated in a local support group, Living Better with COPD, and valued the ongoing care provided by the Pulmonary Rehab Department of St. Nicolas Hospital. He appreciated his neighbors and friends who helped him face the challenges brought on by his health issues, especially during the pandemic.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.reinboldfh.com