Life Story / Obituary
Taken from her loved ones too soon, Terry Kamphorst was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She had a heart of gold and a spirit of compassion toward both people and animals, and she was forever giving to people or a cause in need. Although she accomplished so much of which to be proud, Terry was a humble woman whose greatest joy was found in witnessing her family tree blossom to include the child and grandchildren she adored. She was more quiet and reserved by nature, but she also became more outgoing when she was around those she felt comfortable with. Life will never be the same without Terry here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever treasure.
The 1950s were an exciting time in American history. Elvis Presley became a household name, shows like Father Knows Best changed the way we saw the American family, and by the end of the decade our nation grew with the additions of Alaska and Hawaii as our 49th and 50th states. Amidst this exciting time was the year 1958 that was filled with great anticipation for Bill and Marge (Eidt) Parker as they were eagerly awaiting the birth of their new baby as November unfolded in Detroit, Michigan. The big day finally arrived when the baby girl they named Terry Lee drew her first breath. She was the younger of two children as she was joined in her family by her older brother, Rodney Lee. Terry’s father was in the Navy and later worked as a coordinator of communications for Detroit Edison while her mother worked for Minnesota Fabric.
Raised in the family home in Clawson, Terry was a typical young girl of her generation. She grew up with dachshunds including Penny, Daisy, and Susie among others. Despite being bit on the hand and sent to the emergency room on one occasion, Terry always loved her canine companions. She was very close to her mother throughout her life, and she also loved hanging out with her cousins, David, Dan, John, and Kathy. Terry was known as “TT Mouse” by her Uncle Clark and Aunt Barb as they had nicknames for everyone. Always a bustle of activity, she played the flute and was part of the church youth group with whom she enjoyed retreats where her brother came along as a chaperone. Terry could regularly be found outside playing with neighborhood kids. She became best friends with her friend Sue, or Stu as Terry called her, and later they worked together in a law firm as young adults. Terry attended local schools where she was more of an introvert. As a young woman she loved driving around in her Duster, and she once went 110 mph on Woodward Avenue!
After graduating from high school in 1976, big changes were soon in store for Terry. She met her first husband, Bob Freysinger, when they were 17. They were married in 1978, where she supported her husband as a pastor’s wife from his time in seminary and through answering calls that took him to five different churches. They were always very involved in the life of the congregation, and they also traveled all around. Together Terry and Robert were blessed to welcome their son, Billee, into their hearts and home. She was an active part of her son’s life, and she was also like a second mom to many of Billee’s friends. It was widely known that Terry’s house was the place to be! Terry remained close to many of his friends throughout her life as she was often invited to their weddings. She created and managed Billee’s soccer team and was a driving force behind converting a cow pasture into a soccer field. She and Bob were married for 23 years.
New and exciting days were in store for Terry when she met the love of her life Rodney Kamphorst. Her son had about 20 people over for a New Year’s Eve party in 2000, and that’s when Terry and Rod finally met online for the first time. Six weeks later they had their first date at Don Pablo's in Battle Creek. They dated for the following 18 months, and on September 22, 2001, they were married in their home, known as the “Purple House,” in Kalamazoo. They later moved to Portage in 2010.
Throughout her life Terry was a bustle of activity. She was a successful entrepreneur who spent 17 years selling novelty socks on eBay beginning in 1999. Terry also patented the protective cover for the tags on Beanie Babies. With amazing typing skills, she worked as a church secretary for years at Napoleon United Methodist Church. In fact, Terry’s typing skills were so fantastic that she was ranked second in Michigan and seventh in the nation for speed and accuracy! She was very active with the diabetic program, with her and Rod attending their fundraiser every year. Terry once won a large sum of money there and ended up donating it right back. She continued in her love for dachshunds including her and Rod's current companion, RT, a beautiful, black male that was a rescue dog. Among her other favorites was their three-legged brown dachshund named Sassafras who went through so many things with Terry. In 2011, and after 16 years together, she was deeply saddened with the death of Sassafras. Terry loved going to the movies, shopping, and eating out. Her favorite places were Great Lakes Shipping Company, PF Chang’s, and Mountain Jacks, which was where she and Rod had their reception. Many of her special times were shared with her best friends, Liz and Janet. As someone who always wanted to be a grandma, Terry was overjoyed to welcome Jaxon and soon Zayne, who will be joining the family in October, into her heart and life.
Described as caring, giving, and compassionate, Terry Kamphorst touched the hearts and lives of so many. She was selfless beyond compare with a smile that could brighten up the darkest of days. Terry’s love for her family was easy to see, and there was nothing that was of greater significance in her life than the ones she shared it with. Deeply loved, she will never be forgotten.
Terry Kamphorst, of Portage, passed away on August 27, 2016. Terry’s family includes her husband, Rodney; her parents, Bill and Elaine Parker; son Billee Shay Parker, and wife Haley; grandchildren Jaxon and soon Zayne; and brother Rodney Parker and wife Colleen. Please visit Terry’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read her life story, archive a memory or photo and sign her memory book online.