Obituary for Kinsley Michelle ""kiki"" Terry
“We are mosaics – pieces of light, love, history, stars – glued together by magic and music and words.” – Anita Krishan
Kinsley “Kiki” Michelle Terry’s signature life mosaic began in Detroit, Michigan on August 11, 1955. She was delighted to be born in the same enchanted year as Disneyland. Her father, Charles Arnold Terry, was Canadian, and her mother, Marilyn Joy Wolf Holmes, is American.
Kiki’s childhood included the unconditional love of her Wolf grandparents, the antics of her “yours-mine-and ours” siblings, and the associated vibrancy of being one of 21 cousins. She spent many happy summers in Pt. Burwell, Canada at her grandparent’s summer home creating memories galore. Moving from Michigan to Upstate New York at age nine and then on to Westlake Village, CA at 14 years old, she always held on to her sweet childhood influences like treasured collected beach shells. Among the cousins, she found her place as the “feisty, vibrant one who always brought the music of fun with her”.
Kiki excelled at learning and valued the power of words and education. Her days spent at Agoura High School, Agoura, CA and then graduating from Buckley High School, Sherman Oaks, CA were stepping-stones to her higher education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Liberal Studies degree from California Lutheran College, Thousand Oaks, CA, Magna Cum Laude and a Master of Science, Educational Counseling degree from California State University, Bakersfield, CA earning the Rodriquez Award for Academic Excellence with Honors. She valued her earned Multiple Subjects Teaching Credential / CLAD. Her teaching and tutoring, combined with a specialization in dyslexia education, positively imprinted future generations, and their parents, with the magic of learning, inspiration and easier techniques to achieve their highest dreams.
Kiki proudly “Stood Up” for her beloved America when she entered the U.S. Army on December 1, 1975. With deep patriotism, her Army career as Staff Sargent E-6, Administrator Specialist, Unit Supply Specialist and Instructor, included time at ROTC Stephen F. Austin, Nacogdoches, Texas; and tours of duty at: Fort Jackson, Leavenworth, KS; and in Europe both in Stuttgart, Germany and Italy. She retired from the Army on September 29, 1989 with an honorable discharge. Throughout the rest of her life, she treasured her friendship with Tonee Webb whom she met early in her Army career.
Kiki’s greatest hallmark and realized hope became motherhood, when in 1999 she adopted her beloved and cherished daughter, Sarah Uleah Terry, and brought her home to the U.S. from the Ukraine. Every decision and choice she made from that day forward, she tied in ribbons of love for her esteemed daughter Sarah.
Kiki’s deep faith combined her Episcopal roots with her dedication to her belief as a Latter Day Saint from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Kiki believes she left this earth on angel wings, and into the arms of Jesus and waiting loved ones (including her cherished dogs) who had gone before her. She leaves behind a legacy mosaic of family, esteemed friendships and beloved students.
Her surviving family members include daughter, Sarah Uleah Terry. Sister Karen Holmes and nephew Ryan Rutherford, his wife Candace, great-niece Bristol, great-nephew Quinlan; and nephew Luke Rutherford, and his fiancée Shannon Hare. Brother Tom Terry and niece Tiffany Terry, great-nephews Seth, Ben and Aaron; and niece Brittany Terry. Brother Albert (Bert) Holmes III, his wife Tonya, nieces Elizabeth and Emma, and nephews James and Thomas; Brother Norm Holmes; Brother Doug Holmes; Mother Marilyn Wolf Holmes. Her Father Charles Terry and Brother Richard Holmes predecease her.
We wish to extend a special thank you to Merrill and Kellie Dibble and their family for the beautiful friendship, love and kind regard shown to Kiki and her family during this difficult time, you have “been there” throughout so many years. We also thank Kiki’s beloved long-time friends Tonee Webb and Grace Smith for their gracious care and consideration especially during Kiki’s final journey, along with Vaughn Mills – who lovingly and determinedly proved that “missionaries do indeed remain in your life”. Many thanks to the Relief Society Ladies and church members who so graciously and devotedly created a cushion of comfort during this time. To Cecil Martin, we give a kind thank you for the tender and thoughtful arrangements for Kiki’s services at both the Bakersfield Stake, Church of Latter Day Saints and with the Bakersfield National Cemetery. You have each given to our precious “giver”, Kiki, your own priceless gifts with your love and care.
As we so lovingly called her “The Queen of Celebration” (motto: “Go big or Go home!”), Kiki is now no-doubt creating heavenly celebrations, and will be on heaven’s welcoming committee armed with pink roses and balloon bouquets for all of her beloved arrivals. Missed already, her legacy will live on through all the generosity and love she bestowed on others, most particularly with her beloved daughter Sarah. Safe travels dear one and thank you.