William "Bill" Terry
1930 - 2021
Dickinson Family Funeral Homes
1425 Jackson St
La Crosse, WI

William "Bill" Terry

LA CROSSE - William "Bill" Terry passed away peacefully on Friday, October 8, 2021, at Springbrook Care Facility in Onalaska, WI, 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, IA. He graduated from Lansing Kee High in Lansing, IA. 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, IA, before moving his family to Westby, WI, 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 former 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, FL, 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 his wife Margaret of 69 years; son, Larry (Lori), Peggy; and grandchildren: Lauren (Trevor) Howard (Emmett/Maggie/Lydia), Mikaela (Jack) Reid (Lena) and Ciara Terry (fiance 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, 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

Published by La Crosse Tribune on Oct. 17, 2021.
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11 Entries
I read all the messages on Facebook and the list of people commenting was like The Who´s who of LaCrosse and beyond. He touched so many lives. He was such a huge mentor in my life. Bill Terry was my very first Basketball Coach. I made the 5th & 6th grade basketball team as a 5th Grader. He guided my life from that point on. He will remain my hero to the end of time. Mr. Terry put more Ketchup on his hamburgers and hot dogs than I did. It was our running joke. I don´t think he ever missed a Musical I was in. When I was in the Winona Community Theatre production of "A Little Night Music", I was blown away when he and Marge met me in the lobby after the performance. I remember vividly breaking down in tears in front of my very first coach!! Then, he was so overwhelmed when I came to the LaCrosse Community Theatre production of "Damn Yankees"!! He repeated over and over, "I can´t believe you came to this show"!! He was an icon in Westby, LaCrosse and beyond. Success and notoriety never changed his persona nor how he interacted with friends or new acquaintances. He was larger than life and I still can´t imagine that he is gone. Thankfully, he has left hundreds of coaches, teachers, former players and friends that will carry on his kindness to others, support of athletics and the Arts. His family meant everything to him. And what an extraordinary family he left for all of us. I will remember Coach Terry every single time I eat a hamburger or hot dog. I will look at the amount of Ketchup and say, "Judas Priest"!!!!!
Paul Gulsvig
October 22, 2021
Our Sympathies to Marge and family in the loss of Bill. Our kids were recipients of excellent swimming basics at the Terry Pool, whether from son's and some student teachers of Bill's willing to travel to Westby(even one of the best Kindergarten teachers ever in Lacrosse). Bill and Marge were super role models for my family in church, too. Always a greeting from the Terry's. Singing in the choir encouraged many other members to join the church choir. Peter had the opportunity to have Coach Terry in Football also and always admired how he coached. Thank you for always making a former Methodist feel at home, Bill. We shall Miss you so much. We felt it was a privilege to know you. Bless all your family members, Marge, and yourself. You both were and are our heros.
Peter and Pam Brose
October 21, 2021
It is with heavy heart I extend deepest sympathies to Marge and the entire Terry family having learned of Coach T's passing. He was a great Coach and mentor, always extending his patience and quality character. Bill definitely helped make the world a better place. "Loose as a Goose" Coach T, RIP.
George Downey
October 20, 2021
Rollie and I want to extend our sympathy to your family
Rebecca J Hoff
October 19, 2021
My deepest sympathy to Marge, Larry and the Terry family. Bill will always be fondly remembered as the man who made UWL Baseball special for me and so many others. His influence contributed greatly to my coaching and teaching career for which I am forever grateful. Rest In Peace Coach T.
Mike Rapp
October 18, 2021
Mary Lou Biddlestone
October 18, 2021
We spent many memorable Winters with Bill and Marge. We all missed them when they could no longer return. Bill made everyone laugh and was always coming up with new antics. We thought of him often and know he will be missed by family and his many old friends. Our love to Marge please.
Ellen and Jerry Landwehr
October 18, 2021
Loved Bill. Loved playing cards with him. Thankful for swimming lessons! Always tell of him and his use of catsup on EVERYTHING! Blessed be his memory!
Sharon Willen
October 18, 2021
Larry-Sorry to hear about the lost of Dad. He was a great man. He not only made me a better teacher but also a better person.He taught me not only what it took to be a good teacher but also how to the kind and thoughtful to others .I will never forget his smile and his laugh. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family
Gary Seehafer
October 17, 2021
To the Terry family, I got to meet Bill while playing at UW-L football. Such a nice guy and a true family man. He was so proud of Larry for coaching and of course his imprint in physical education at the University. We are all lucky to have met him. RIP Bill. The PE program and sports at UWL will always be grateful for your dedication. Sincerely, Mark Formanek and family
Mark Formanek
October 17, 2021
Many words will be offered, as we remember our teacher, coach, mentor, and friend, Bill Terry. Be certain, they will ALL be true. While we have lost a wonderful man, we will forever remember how he impacted everyone. He was an inspiration to so many and, along with his loving wife Marge, demonstrated how to share a life together. Our sympathies go to Marge, Larry, and the extended family. Bill was that guy, who made us enjoy what we do, and showed us how to live life to the fullest. That smile will forever be etched in our hearts as we remember Bill and what he meant to each of us. Thanks, Bill, for being in our lives and impacting us, as you did.
John Hardgrove
October 17, 2021
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