Terrie L. Matthes Obituary

Terrie L. Matthes, age 73, of Coloma and Chicago, passed away unexpectantly at Ascension Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Cremation has taken place.

Terrie was born July 29, 1948, in Chicago, Illinois.  She is survived by her partner, Carole Schmitz, of forty-six years whom she married on December 12, 2015. She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Maureen Alfafara (Nick) and her many nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.

Terrie was preceded in death by her parents, Gordon and Eulalia (“Lee”) Matthes.

Terrie’s career was remarkable in that her work made a significant difference in the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. In Chicago, she worked at the Illinois Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, at the AIDS Foundation for Chicago, and at multiple drug treatment programs leading interventions and offering counseling. During her years as a counselor at Northwest Youth Outreach, beginning in 1981, she worked with youth and families who were struggling with many challenges. She worked tirelessly with young people who were often in crisis. As a strong advocate for the rights of youths, she brought her passionate leadership to everything she did.  She made a great difference for youth who did not always have a voice; she also helped change the perspective of agencies and systems.  She was one of the important leaders in youth work in Chicago.

In Berrien County, Michigan, Terrie was the County Court Intake/Juvenile Register Manager in the Family Division from 2004 until she retired on April 22, 2015. Terrie served the people of Berrien County with integrity and professionalism and has positively influenced the lives of Berrien County families through her assistance and support. At her retirement, the Berrien County Trial Court honored Terrie L. Matthes in the administration of justice and for her dedication to the Court, the citizens of Berrien County, the state of Michigan and the United States of America.

Terrie was a great supervisor and mentor, a fun co-worker and an amazing liaison and adviser to other agencies that worked with her people. Terrie’s notable impact was her unique gift to create effective programs (or fix ineffective ones) wherever she worked.  She used her grant writing abilities to find funding for these programs, when funds within the agencies were not available, in order to create the programs she wanted. These programs will continue to serve the communities in which Terrie was involved.

Terrie was known for her attire of interesting T-Shirts and stylish athletic shoes that brought laughter and a smile and a wink to many of our eyes. She loved children and enjoyed giving them interesting and fun gifts that reflected her sense of humor.

Donations in memory of Terrie may be made to Humane Society of Southwestern Michigan, 5400 S. Niles Rd., St Joseph, MI 49085.

Those wishing to leave a message or share a memory with the family online may do so by using the "Guestbook" link located on this page.

We love you Terrie and thank you for enriching all our lives.