MARQUETTE, MI – Theresse Marie “Terri” Parolini, 82, of Marquette, passed away Monday afternoon, August 8th, 2022, at Mill Creek Assisted Living after a short illness, in the loving presence of her family and under the care of U.P. Home Health and Hospice.
Terri was born on March 31st, 1940, in Marquette to the late Dr. Gustave “Al” and Therese (Olson) Johnson. During World War II, Terri and her family moved from Marquette to Galveston, Texas, and then to Okmulgee, Oklahoma, where her father was stationed as a dentist with the U.S. Army. At the end of the war in 1945, the family returned home to Marquette. After attending Graveraet High School for three years, in 1958, Terri graduated from New Trier Township High School in Winnetka, Illinois.
Following graduation, Terri attended the Chicago School of Dental Nursing and worked as a Dental Assistant for two years in Willamette, Illinois. Always wanting to come back home, she returned to Marquette, where she was employed in the dental practice of Dr. Bruno Andriacchi, for seven years. It was during this time that she met her future husband, Burt, while he was a patient in her dental chair! For their first date, they spent the day at the Parolini camp at Buckroe near Big Bay, and after five years of courtship, Burt and Terri were married in 1966, at St. Michael’s in Marquette.
In addition to enjoying community and social activities together, the couple shared a fondness for travel. Over the years, the Parolinis embarked on trips both near and far, which included destinations such as Mexico, the Bahamas, Hawaii, Spain, and an Alaskan cruise. Terri loved to reminisce and share memories of their adventures.
Family was always of the utmost importance to Terri. She left the dental field in 1968 to raise three children, while she took on meaningful volunteer work at the (former) Parkview Elementary School library and the Marquette General Hospital Gift Shop as an Auxiliary member. When her children were a bit older, Terri went to work at the Peter White Public Library, where she started as an Assistant in the Children’s Room. She ended her career in the Tech Services area overseeing the Interlibrary Loan department. She retired in 2009 after 26 years of service.
Terri remained incredibly active in retirement. In 2010, she began regularly volunteering at the Jacobetti Home for Veterans, where she was awarded the Milestone Service Award in 2019 for contributing over 3,000 hours of service and support. In her free time, one of Terri’s favorite things to do was to go out to lunch around town with her good friends. Her commitment to keeping in touch with friends and family, by sending a hand-picked greeting card for every milestone and holiday (always on-time!), was a thoughtful effort that will be greatly missed.
Undeniably happiest when around other people, Terri was a regular participant in the activity program at Mill Creek and enjoyed exercise classes, bingo, and travelogue presentations, to name a few. She loved talking with staff members and took a sincere interest in their lives. Constantly on the move, Terri always made time for a walk outdoors, whether back and forth to the library, along the bike path near her home & Lake Superior, in the woods at camp, and later around the Mill Creek neighborhoods. She was a member of St. Michael Catholic Church for over 50 years.
Amidst her countless activities, it has been said that Terri’s greatest hobby was her grandchildren. Although many miles away, regular visits to and from Minnesota and Lower Michigan were her life’s priority. She made every effort to attend birthday celebrations, school events, and graduation ceremonies. From helping with them as newborns to FaceTiming with them as young adults, Terri worked tirelessly to maintain a unique connection with each special grandchild. They were the light of her life, and the memories she created with them will last throughout theirs.
As a mother, grandmother, wife, and friend, Terri will be remembered for her kindness, strength, resilience, and unconditional love. She lived a full and meaningful life and positively impacted the lives of many. Through the good times and bad, her motto “one day at a time”, brought her and her loved ones courage and peace, especially in her last days.
She is survived by her husband, Burt E. Parolini, whom she married on May 14th, 1966, at St. Michael’s; three loving children, Carol (John) Pitz of Chanhassen, MN, Susan (John) Arend of Belmont, MI and John Parolini of Grand Rapids, MI; six grandchildren, Eric and Brian Pitz, Michael, Katelyn, and Kyle Arend, Piper Parolini; one brother, Robert W. Johnson of Marquette; also several nieces and nephews.
Preceding her in death, besides her parents, were two sisters, Marilyn “Mimi” (Robert) Pettett in 2009 and Virginia Sue Johnson in 2016.
The family would like to thank the wonderful staff at Mill Creek Senior Living, the doctors and nurses at U.P. Health System – Marquette, and the team at U.P. Home Health and Hospice for their warm and compassionate care of Terri and her family.
The Parolini family will greet relatives and friends on Friday, August 12th, beginning at 10 a.m., at St. Michael Catholic Church. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in the church at 12 noon, with the Rev. Gregory Heikkala officiating. A luncheon will be served in the Zyrd Parish Center at the church immediately following the Mass. Burial will take place in the Park Cemetery. Terri’s grandsons will serve as her escorts.
Those wishing to make an expression of sympathy are kindly asked to consider the Michigan Veterans Home D.J. Jacobetti, Life Enrichment Fund, 425 Fisher St., Marquette, MI 49855, or the Peter White Public Library, 217 N. Front St., Marquette, MI 49855 in Terri’s memory.
Canale-Tonella Funeral Home and Cremation Services is assisting the Parolini family, where memories of Terri may be shared at canalefuneral.com.