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Reyers North Valley Chapel

2815 Fuller Ave Ne, Grand Rapids, MI

OBITUARY

Terrence "Terry" Kevin Conklin

February 1, 1948January 10, 2020
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Terrence Kevin Conklin “Captain”, age 71, passed away on January 10, 2020. He was the beloved husband of Kathleen (Kathy) for 50 years. Terrence is survived by his children, Cammie Harris and Christen (Tim) Topolinski, grandkids Catherine (Asa), Morgan, Kevin, Danielle, Lauren, great granddaughter Kenzington, step-mother Irene and siblings Mike (Marie), Cindy (Chris), Aileen (Frank), Carol (Randy), Jan (Tom), Dave (Julie), Cammie (Rick) and Chris (Susie). He is preceded in death by parents Patricia and Michael and sister Peggy.

Terry was a sports fan and an all-around athlete his whole life. He loved playing sports, coaching sports and was a big Notre Dame fan. He enjoyed fishing and hunting, as well. Terry started his career in Education in Alpena, Michigan as a business math teacher and ended his career at Mecosta Oseola ISD as the Superintendent. He was proud to have spent over 34 years in the education field, making a difference in so many children’s lives. During his career, one of his biggest accomplishments was starting one of the first middle schools in Michigan. He served as a Board Member of the Michigan Athletic Association. As an educator, Terry formed great relationships with people on the schoolboard and always remained highly involved in the community. Terry will be remembered by his natural ability to befriend anyone. He was kind and loving and will be missed by so many.

A Memorial Visitation will be held on Friday, January 17th from 2-4 PM and 6-8 PM, with a Rosary Service at 7 PM at Reyers North Valley Chapel. A Memorial Mass will be on Saturday, January 18th at 11 AM at St. Jude Catholic Church, with a visiting hour from 10 AM until the beginning of Mass.

In lieu of flowers, any memorial contributions may be made to the Kids Food Basket in memory of Terry. Contributions can be made using this link https://secure3.convio.net/kfb/site/Donation2?df_id=1481&mfc_pref=T&1481.donation=form1 or the main address, 1300 Plymouth Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505.

Services

  • Memorial Visitation Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Rosary Service Friday, January 17, 2020
  • Memorial Mass Saturday, January 18, 2020

Memories

Terrence "Terry" Kevin Conklin

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Kyle Finn

January 19, 2020

It doesn't feel appropriate for someone as remote as me to comment but I want to say thank you.

I only met Terry a couple years ago, after so much had already changed. Even still, please know that he and his Kathy touched my heart. I cannot imagine your loss but thank you for your Christian witness.

With love,
- Kyle Finn
Former social worker at Holland Home, Fulton Manor

Heidi Herzog

January 18, 2020

Dear Conklin Family,

I was not fortunate enough to have met “Captain” Conklin. I am co-workers with his niece, Lorrie Freeman. I lost my mother (66 years old) to dementia in July. Lorrie spoke fondly about her uncle and was always a kind ear as I struggled through some very dark, sad and frustrating times. I am so sorry for your loss. Mr. Conklin, much like my mother, was too young to be taken. I hope everyone traveling today made it safely. Although I was unable to make it to the service, I am happy I was able to make a contribution in your husband/father’s honor. Your family is in my prayers during this sad time.

-Heidi Herzog

Jack Manciu

January 17, 2020

Dear Conklin family,

First, I am so sorry for your loss. As we are in Florida for the winter, I regret not being present to mourn his loss and celebrate a life so well lived. He did touch the lives of so many people. I will be forever grateful to him for offering me the position as elementary principal at Jefferson School in Ionia.

Terry liked doing things in a hurry. I always thought it was funny when I had lunch with Terry and Dave Snook because they both would race to see who could inhale their food first. I think Terry inched out Dave by about a second or two.

Another stunning moment was at our administrative retreat in Cadillac. We all sat down for our meetings and Tim Carlson came in and sat down with his sunglasses lens altered with one lens up and one down. Terry slammed down his notes while yelling at Tim for always having to act like a clown. We all went silent. Then Terry burst out laughing telling us it was all staged by the two of them. Of course, we all let out a sigh of relief for Tim while also having a great laugh.

The last thing I’ll share is how prepared one had to be if you were riding on a golf cart with, Terry. With him driving the cart, after you hit your ball and came back to sit in the cart, he often had it moving before you could get seated. This, as you can guess, often resulted in whiplash.

Terry was a great person. I was fortunate to have been a part of his life. Heaven will be enriched by his presence, and our world will be brighter because of the way he taught us to live and treat the others we meet!!

Much love to all the Conklin family,

Jack and Susan Manciu

Blair McGowan

January 13, 2020

Terry was my best friend from 4th grade into college… he was irrepressible, optimistic, fun-loving, always active.
His paternal grandfather had a bunch of kids, and they were all story tellers, geniuses of one liners, funny all day… Terry and Mike picked up on that and spiced our lives with their Irish wit.
When we had the chance to become altar boys, Terry and I would take turns playing priest and going through the entire mass, doing the ups & down, and reciting the Latin responses to the priest, over and over.
Terry would grab his brother Mike, and they would drive 3 blocks to Queen’s playground and my brother Mark and I would play football in the fall, basketball all winter, baseball as soon as the snow melted all spring and summer… all day long.
What I respected most about Terry, as an adult, was his ability to expand his thinking, and pursue what was right, no matter how difficult.
In the 80’s, Terry called me up, and said, “I got him”. As a superintendent, Terry heard rumors of a teacher/coach who was treating high school girls disrespectfully. He pursued it. And proved it. And had this man fired, and blacklisted across Michigan. Even today, that is unusual behavior, requiring, wisdom, and bravery, and dedication. That was Terry!
Another time in the 80’s, Terry told me he protected a couple students who were being drummed out of school because of their sexual orientation. He stood up and defended them. Amazing! I was so proud of him.
Terry shared with me over the decades his love for Kathy, his children, and his grandchildren. He was so proud of his big family. Even as his memory slipped away, he cherished his family first.
Tony Benson is right. Terry was a good man. He really was! He added to our collective consciousness an optimistic approach to life, a sense of pursuing what is right, an enthusiasm for the things of life….
As a little boy, I admired Terry. He was my leader. I loved him. And know we are all soon to be following him…

Barbara Britten Towns

January 13, 2020

Kathy I just learned of Terry's passing ~ my condolences to you and your entire family. I so enjoyed working as Terry's secretary during his superintendency at the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District. He was a joy to work with ~ never a dull moment.

RIP my friend 💔🙏🏻

Tony Benson

January 13, 2020

Kathy

My deepest sympathy to you and everyone in the Conklin family with Terry's passing. He was a good man and I know that you will carry many wonderful memories of your life together. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Tony Benson

Margie Whitfield-Harris

January 12, 2020

Kathy,

My deepest sympathy to you, your children, grandchildren and Terry’s siblings. He was a great athlete, friend and always a gentleman with a kind heart.

Margie Hawkins

Mark Bielang

January 12, 2020

Terry and I served together in Ionia while I was High School Principal. I will always remember Terry's support as we worked through several difficult situations. His sense of humor, common sense approach to problem solving, and engaging personality were behaviors that served him well that I try to emulate.

Pam and I send our condolences to Kathy and the rest of the family. We lost a good man.

Barbara Schut

January 12, 2020

Terry will always be remembered by our family as a fun-loving, kind, family oriented, helpful friend.
My deceased husband Norm enjoyed Terry as the Athletic Director at Zeeland High School
while Norm was the Varsity basketball coach.
We enjoyed Kathy and Terry as neighbors on Pretty Lake while Terry was Superintendent of the ISD in Big Rapids Michigan.
Our family Brent, Brenda, Stephanie, spouses and grandchildren were all saddened to hear the news about Terry. Our family send our love, prayers, and condolences to Kathy and
entire family.. You are loved💕— Barb Schut

Chris Wigent

January 12, 2020

I was very sorry to learn of Terry's passing. We have lost a great person and a wonderful educational leader. May he rest in peace.

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