Therese “Terry” Van Keuren passed away after a short illness at her Macedon home. She is predeceased by her husband, Richard W. Van Keuren. She is survived by her five children; Mary Van Keuren, Edward Van Keuren, Janet (Anthony) Van Keuren Casapulla, Karen (Brian) Van Keuren Guza, and Linda Van Keuren; as well as by her nine grandchildren; Janine, Kristen, Anthony, Nicholas, and Julia Casapulla, Elizabeth and Daniel Guza, and Seika and Kanon Van Keuren.
The daughter of Irish immigrants, Terry was born and grew up in an Irish enclave in Jackson Heights in Queens. As a child of the Great Depression, she understood frugality and knew how to live simply—a skill that would be invaluable to her throughout her life. She was 14 when the U.S. entered World War II, an event that shaped her teen years. Two years later, her mother died after a long illness and Terry assumed the de facto responsibilities of keeping house for herself and her father while also attending high school. She was a precocious student, graduating when she was only 16.
After her graduation from St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn at the age of 21, she became a teacher at a boarding school for children with special needs in upstate New York, The Anderson School, where she was beloved by her students. There, she served as a house mother and led many student groups, including the equestrian team.
Terry met Dick Van Keuren when he arrived to teach at the Anderson School in 1950. They were married in 1952 and moved to Hempstead, Long Island, where Dick became a teacher in the East Meadow School District. Terry worked as a substitute teacher until her first child, Mary, arrived in 1959, when she became a full-time homemaker. Over the next ten years, she would give birth to four more children: Edward, Janet, Karen, and Linda. She excelled at providing a warm and welcoming home for her family, which became a bustling center of activity for her children and their friends.
In 1980, Dick retired, and he and Terry moved to Honesdale, Pennsylvania with the younger children, the older ones having left for college. They quickly became a welcome part of their rural community and staunch members of St. John the Evangelist Church, the Roman Catholic parish in Honesdale. Terry worked as a tax preparer for many years, first at H&R Block in Honesdale and later on independently.
It is impossible to speak about Terry without mentioning her love of God and the Catholic Church. She was particularly devoted to the Blessed Virgin, and she and Dick said a rosary every night before going to bed. She played an active role at Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Hempstead and, later, at St. John’s in Honesdale, where she led the RCIA group and served on countless committees. Her social life revolved around her family and her church, and she made many loving friends over the years through her work with the church.
Dick died in 2001, leaving a hole that was impossible to fill in Terry’s life. She carried on, however, filling her life with church work and her family. In 2016, she left Honesdale for Macedon, New York, where she moved in with her eldest daughter Mary.
In her last years, Terry’s greatest pleasure was talking to and visiting with her children and grandchildren, who were devoted to her, and her garden. Gardening was one of her great loves, and her green thumb meant that the garden was spectacular every summer.
Terry’s strength and resiliency carried her through health scares and other challenges, and she remained active and vibrant until the last few weeks of her life. She was surrounded and supported by her five children when she died peacefully in her sleep. She will be remembered by all who knew her as an indomitable spirit who lived a life governed by faith and love.
Services in NY are private. A Funeral Mass, and burial, will take place at St. Mary Magdalen Church, Honesdale on Saturday, July 29th. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy in memory of Terry may be made in the form of a donation to Catholic Charities Family and Community Services, 79 North Clinton Ave., Rochester, NY 14604, 585-546-7220.
Local arrangements by Hessling Murray Funeral Home, 428 Main St. Honesdale.