Steven Frederick Terwilliger
Born: October 6, 1946
Died: May 1, 2021
Steven Frederick Terwilliger passed away on May 1, 2021, after living four years with cancer. Steve was born October 6, 1946, in DeKalb, Illinois to Marguerite Terwilliger and George Covell Terwilliger, Jr, the second of three boys. Steve spent his childhood on the family farm on the edge of Dekalb with his brothers Carl and Paul. Farming was an essential part of Steve's life and even when he left it growing food was important to him.
Steve graduated from DeKalb High School in 1964 where he was an active FFA member. He went on to obtain his undergraduate degree in art from Northern Illinois University in 1969, followed by a MA (1973) and MFA (1982). Steve taught art and design at several colleges throughout the Midwest before taking a teaching position at UW-Eau Claire in 1981 where he retired as a full Professor of Art and Chair of the Department of Art and Design in 2008. Steve was a patient and thorough teacher who would always make extra time to help his students. You can find images of Steve's artwork online: https://www.artworkterwilliger.com/
Steve met Ellen at folk dancing in Eau Claire, WI and they were married in 1986 and together raised Hanna Terwilliger (b. 1990) and Erika Terwilliger (b. 1994). Steve always said that the best part of his life was his family. He imparted his love of farming on his family by creating an extensive vegetable garden where he waged a yearly battle with the neighborhood deer and raccoons over his prized sweet corn. He and Ellen were a team – whether gardening together, working on an ever-present list of house projects, or advocating for renewable energy. Steve loved going on family road trips to the western US, despite nearly always encountering a natural disaster, whether it was floods, forest fires, or 10-hour Amtrak delays.
Steve didn't believe in retirement and spent his post-teaching years advocating for solar and renewable energy throughout the Chippewa Valley and Wisconsin. He installed not one, but three Solar PV systems at the family house, and went on to co-chair the Solar on Eau Claire Schools project and serve on the Eau Claire sustainability committee. Steve continued his work as an artist and displayed works in local shows.
The family would like to thank Marshfield Cancer Center and St. Joseph's Hospice for the exceptional care provided to Steve. A special thanks to Sara Holder and Corrine Denker for friendship and in-home care during the final weeks of Steve's life. Our families and friends have been a source of great comfort during Steve's illness.
Steve is survived by his wife, Ellen; daughters, Hanna and Erika; brother, Paul (Marcia); nephew, Matt, (Megan); niece, Julie (Louie), along with numerous cousins and aunts.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Marguerite and Covell Terwilliger; and older brother, Carl.
Memorial Visitation will be held from 4-7 p.m. Friday, August 6, 2021. Memorial Service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, August 7 with a time of gathering to follow, all at Chippewa Valley Cremation Services – Celebration of Life Center, 1717 Devney Drive, Altoona WI, 54720.
The Terwilliger gardens and home are full of flowers and plants so if you are inspired to provide a Memorial consider: Eau Claire Public Schools Foundation online at www.ecpsfound.org
, Renew Wisconsin online at www.renewwisconsin.org
, or the Midwest Renewable Energy Association online at www.midwestrenew.org
The family is being served by the Chippewa Valley Cremation Services - Celebration of Life Center in Altoona Wisconsin. Online condolences may be left at www.chippewavalleycremation.com
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Published by Daily-Chronicle from May 3 to May 8, 2021.