A Tribute to Terry Etling

For 21 years, Terry Etling graced LSS with her warm and caring spirit. She held several positions at LSS, culminating in Executive Director of Meramec Bluffs. Those who knew Terry can readily share stories about how she impacted their lives as well as those around her. While she may not be physically with us today, called home to Christ on September 11, it’s these stories that keep her memory and her vibrant life in our hearts.

A St. Louis city resident, Terry embraced those she considered to be her neighbors, whether she knew them or not. She served the needy at St. Vincent De Paul, St. Mary Magdalen, and St. Patrick’s Center. You might say Terry ran with the saints.

Indeed, Terry gave joyfully – meals, clothing, hygiene kits, money for utilities (or just plain money) – to those who needed it. She once bought a bus ticket to Florida for a homeless woman she met at Soldier’s Memorial. She helped an elderly man find an apartment, and she drove a stranger to drug rehab. And then there was the time she cruised around Soulard for a solid hour looking for the man with holes in his pants she’d seen at Trinity Lutheran earlier that day. Terry had a new pair of pants for him.

For many years on Christmas Eve, Terry took five envelopes of money to her local grocery store and asked the cashier to distribute them to the four customers who had the greatest need. Those who were gifted never even knew where the money came from. And the cashiers – who were probably none too thrilled to be working the holiday – got the unexpected gift of helping someone else and got to keep the fifth envelope.

Where does such goodness come from? We all know the answer. But where does that goodness go…without Terry Etling?

It goes on. Because of her example, goodness goes on.

Terry gave us an example in how to love our neighbors and to return to them the dignity that every human being deserves. Terry lived life to the fullest. And she made sure others could do so, too.