Cover photo for Therese Chester's Obituary
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1948 Therese 2019

Therese Chester

October 6, 1948 — May 7, 2019

Therese "Terry" Chester

Therese "Terry" Chester passed away May 7, 2019, in Vancouver, WA. Born on October 6, 1948, Terry grew up in small town Woodland, Washington with her eight siblings. She graduated from Woodland High School in 1966, attended Gonzaga University in Spokane for two years, took a year off to work, and returned to school, receiving her BA in Education from the University of Portland in 1971.

She taught for three years in Golden, Colorado, before moving back to Portland in 1974. Terry worked for the Portland school district for the next twelve years, mostly at Columbia Whittaker Middle School, as a teacher and Curriculum Associate; and earned her MA from UP in 1976. She was active in the Portland Association of Teachers, particularly in groups involved with politics, and took a half year leave to work full time for the Oregon Education Association in classified organizing. In 1983 Terry married Randy Ventgen, who also worked for the OEA; initially living in the Laurelhurst neighborhood of Portland, and then moving to a house just outside of Lake Oswego. Terry continued to teach until 1986 when daughter LauraElizabeth Chester Ventgen was born.

Terry had a deep felt interest in women's rights, in helping the poor and those in need; including disaster relief, ill children, veterans, and animals, and in supporting causes and politicians who believed in those same issues. She volunteered at her daughter's school, their church, Girl Scouts, the Oregon Food Bank, and on political campaigns for issues and candidates, most recently Hillary Clinton.

Terry had a unique ability for seeking a personal connection with anyone she came in contact with, whether it was her long time family and friends or a new voice on the phone. They weren't just a name or voice but someone to know. Terry had deep feelings for those who she counted as friends. As she posted not long ago on Facebook "It's important to make friendships that are deeper ...friends who you can cry with, ...friends who support your life goals". The family has lived in Vancouver since 2013 in a house Terry designed not far from her sisters Barbara and Margaret.

Terry loved animals, from a cat she had growing up, to the horses from Laura's years of equestrian lessons, the pointer/spaniel cross Emma, Koosh her beloved cockapoo, and Randy's german shorthaired pointer McKenzie. She was at her heart an artist, enjoying painting, making purses, jewelry making, and other crafting; and she loved giving pieces she had made to family, friends and even those making service calls to the house. She had had plans for her own online crafts business called "terrymade". Terry loved traveling and continued doing so as long as she was physically capable.

Terry was preceded in death by her parents Alice Collins Chester and Leland Rucker Chester, her brother Nick Chester, her nephew J. J. Stewart, and her brother-in-law Art Mulka. Terry is survived by her husband Randy Ventgen, her daughter Laura Ventgen, her siblings Margaret Stewart, Barbara Chester, Lenna Mulka, Nora Chester, Jim Chester, Nancy Meng, and Kay Chester; as well as other family members, friends, classmates, colleagues, and neighbors.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the ASPCA in her name.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Therese Chester, please visit our flower store.


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