*In lieu of flowers, the family is accepting donations for a memorial project in Terry's honor at the Spencer Golf and Country Club.
Terry Gene Jespersen, 80, of Spencer, Iowa, died Saturday, August 12. Funeral services are at 11 a.m. on Saturday, August 19 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Spencer. Family visitation and a reception is directly following the service at 12 p.m. at the Spencer Golf and Country Club.
Terry was born to Glenn and Marguerite (Lundberg) Jespersen on July 10, 1943, in Wagner, South Dakota.
Born while his father was in Europe during World War II, Terry met his dad when Glenn disembarked his troopship in New York City in 1945. Terry’s mother was a traveling rural school teacher, so he spent much of his childhood with his maternal grandparents, Axel and Frances, on their farm. Axel owned a pool hall in Armour, SD, where young Terry mastered the art of humor, snooker, and making friends. Terry’s life was deeply impacted by his grandparents’ warmth, humor, hospitality, and encouragement.
Terry pursued a teaching degree at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD. He earned spending money by playing snooker in local pool halls and playing rhythm guitar with his college rock band, The Jadesman.
He married his best friend, Susan Sova, in 1966, and together they raised their children, Julie and Charlie, in Spencer, Iowa.
Terry was an accomplished manager and sales professional in the freight industry, becoming vice president of national sales. He had an innate ability to connect people in both his professional and personal life, and he delighted in making introductions and creating partnerships. A serial entrepreneur, he was a convenience store franchisee, owner of a moving and storage operation, and a commercial warehouse owner.
Terry was talented and enjoyed several hobbies, leading to many trophies, medals, and, most importantly to him, friendships. As a teenager, he excelled in football, track, and basketball, earning a trip to the South Dakota State B Basketball Tournament in the Mitchell Corn Palace. His beautiful singing voice and guitar skills helped earn The Jadesman a spot in the South Dakota Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For decades, he practiced snooker, racquetball, and golf. He won a gold medal in racquetball in the 1990 Iowa Olympics. His favorite place was the golf course at the Spencer Golf and Country Club, and he treasured the friends he made there.
Terry was present, available, positive, and faithful toward the people in his life. He loved his wife with all his heart. He blessed his children with his consistent presence, provision, encouragement, humor, and love. His grandchildren were his pride and joy. His home, backyard, golf cart, and humor were instruments of hospitality and community.
Left to cherish his life are his wife of almost 57 years, Susan; his daughter, Julie (Greg) Culshaw of Willmar, MN; his son, Charlie (Ellen) Jespersen of Sioux Falls, SD; and his grandchildren: Emma, Grace, Naomi, Bethany, Andrew, and Benjamin.