Terry E. Thiessen, 73, of New Holstein entered life eternal on May 27, 2021 following complications from an organ transplant rejection.
Thiessen, born on Oct. 7, 1947, was a native of New Holstein and the son of Dr. Edgar and Ethel (Sy) Thiessen. On Nov. 30, 1968 he married his college sweetheart, Karen Rohde. The couple have three children and seven grandchildren.
Terry attended public schools in New Holstein, graduating in 1966. His education continued at Lakeland College where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education degree. Following graduation in 1970, Thiessen enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving a three-year enlistment at the rank of staff sargent. After receiving a top secret and White House security clearance, Terry was assigned to the Department of Defense, Military District of Washington, D.C. as a protocol and information specialist.
Upon his discharge from the Army, Terry took a teaching position with the Valders Public Schools, teaching in the Middle School. During this time, he completed work on a Master of Science degree in Curriculum and Supervision from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. After 12 years at Valders, he was hired as the senior group sales representative for The American Club, Kohler. In 1990, Thiessen accepted the position of director of educational programs for the Aerial Company, Marinette. He held this position until 1994, when he opened his own meetings and events management company, Professional Resources and Events. Although based in New Holstein, his clients came from throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and England. Thiessen closed this business in 2010 because of failing health.
Besides being a small business entrepreneur, Terry was highly involved in community activities throughout his life. He served as a New Holstein alderperson, serving on the Public Works Committee, the Finance Committee, the Negotiating Committee, chair of the City’s 150th Anniversary Celebration, and, most recently, chair of the Historic Preservation Committee. He was a founding member of the New Holstein Economic Development Corporation and served as its secretary. He also served on the New Holstein Board of Education and was instrumental in the passing of the referendum for the new middle school. Thiessen was involved with many community organizations including being a 52-year member of the percussion section of the Kiel Municipal Band, founding the Calumet County Young Republican Club, served as vice president and president of the Lakeland University Alumni Association, was a member of Meeting Professionals International serving as the chair of its International Education Committee for six years, and a member of the Wisconsin Chapter of Meeting Professionals International and served as the group’s treasurer, vice president and president.
The enjoyment of history was always an important part of his life, whether the basis of a family trip or the active involvement of the preservation of the history of New Holstein. He has been an active member of the New Holstein Historical Society, serving for many years as its president and curator. He was actively involved in the creation of its temporary exhibits as well as many of the vignettes in the main gallery of the Pioneer Corner Museum. In addition, he was a member of the Wisconsin Council for Local History for 12 years as well as serving as its president for eight years.
Terry was an active member of St. Peter United Church of Christ in Kiel. He was a member of the Mendelsohn Choir, served as its benevolent treasurer for many years, an usher, and a member of the consistory.
Terry is survived by his wife Karen; their son Matthew and his children, Meredith, Alexander and Samuel; their daughter Sonja (Brian) Byers and their children Raegan and Avery; their daughter Aimee Beilgard and her children Shea and Declan; his sister Prudence (David) Casper and their family; his sister Sandra (James) Wise and their family; mother-in-law LaVerne Starck; brother-in-law Kenneth Rohde; sister-in-law Kathleen (James) Kalk and their family; as well as many other relatives and friends.
The Meiselwitz-Vollstedt Funeral Home of Kiel is assisting the family with funeral arrangements. A memorial service will be held June 26 at 2 p.m. at St. Peter UCC with burial to follow at Eaton Union Cemetery. In lieu of flowers or plants, he would appreciate donations going to the New Holstein Historical Society, Lakeland University, Kiel Municipal Band, or St. Peter UCC.
The Thiessen family would like to thank the Sharon S. Richardson Hospice for keeping Terry comfortable in his last days.