William ‘Bill’ Terry
William “Bill” Terry passed away peacefully on Friday, October 8, 2021, at Springbrook Care Facility in Onalaska, Wis., with his wife, Marge, by his side. Bill had a gift for connecting with people along with a wonderful sense of humor. He was a tremendous coach and mentor to the many people he crossed paths with during his lifetime.
Bill was born November 10, 1930, in Cresco, Iowa. He graduated from Kee High in Lansing, Iowa. Afterwards, he served three years in the United States Air Force, before enrolling in Northern Iowa University, where he completed a bachelor’s degree in physical education. When Bill was home on leave, his mom said, “Why don’t you take Margie on a date?” Bill dutifully listened to his mother and before long the two were married on June 15, 1952, sparking a lifetime of love, family and memories.
Bill taught for two years in Maxwell, Iowa, before moving his family to Westby, Wis., where he had a successful career in education as a teacher, football/baseball coach and athletic director. Bill and Marge loved their time in Westby and developed a strong presence in the community — joining Our Saviors Lutheran Church and teaching hundreds of kids swimming lessons in their backyard pool.
UW-La Crosse came calling in 1968 and offered Bill a job teaching Physical Education as well as coaching baseball and football. Bill became the head baseball coach in 1969 and held that position until 1979. In addition to his coaching success, he taught in the pilot program for the Physical Education major and acted as a supervising teacher for students in the field. As a result, the state is full of UW-L Physical Education graduates who were deeply impacted by Bill’s positive leadership and passion for teaching. Bill retired in 1989, but his influence lived on as his son, Larry, joined the same department one year before his departure. Larry experienced firsthand the respect and admiration his father carried at UW-L.
Bill was inducted into the Wisconsin State Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1986, and the UW-L Wall of Fame in 1994.Bill was instrumental in the drive to reinstate baseball at UW-La Crosse and was named 2010 La Crosse Tribune Sportsperson of the year for his efforts. He was inducted into the La Crosse Area Baseball Hall of Fame in 2019. Bill, and later his sons, played key roles in hosting, and maintaining the success of the WIAA State Track Meet at UW-La Crosse.
In retirement, Bill and Marge spent four months in Panama City Beach, Florida, each year. As with each place they lived, Bill claimed the title of mayor as they formed a community there and enjoyed many lasting friendships. Back in La Crosse, Bill started a choir while living at Eagle Crest. Bill, a consummate showman, always enjoyed the opportunity to entertain others.
Bill and Marge have lived rich lives and together have been great role models. Bill would always say, “We better check with mother” on any decisions made. They truly were a “we” with the front door always open to all. They created a beautiful life centered around their family and friends.
Bill is survived by Margaret, his wife of 69 years, son Larry (Lori), Peggy, and grandchildren: Lauren (Trevor) Howard (Emmett/Maggie/Lydia), Mikaela (Jack) Reid (Lena) and Ciara Terry (fiancé Spencer), Kathryn Terry and Devin (Stefani) Terry.
Bill was preceded in death by their beloved son Steve Terry. Bill was loved by many and will be greatly missed.
A private family service will be held with a Celebration of Life held when all are able to gather together. The Dickinson Family Funeral Home & Crematory is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be shared at www.dickinsonfuneralhomes.com
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