Durham News: Obituaries

Therese Hutter

Born in Elizabeth New Jersey, and educated in Philadelphia—Temple University, 1985—Terri found her true community in Durham, North Carolina. Though she was both a great athlete and an acclaimed chef, her calling was to feed, educate, and empower the disadvantaged in her adopted home. She worked, trained, inspired, and served, as Director of Job Training at Inter-Faith Food Shuttle for eighteen years.Small but mighty, Terri could always confound expectations. She worked her way through college on academic and athletic scholarships. As an All-American member of the Iron Owls women’s powerlifting team, she set national and multi-national records. Tipping the scale at 114 pounds herself, “Munchkin” squatted a record 314 pounds for Temple. In Philadelphia Terri found her two most enduring loves: her husband Fred Neumann, and her vocation in food service. Terri met Fred working at a restaurant in 1984, and they moved to Durham in 1986 when Fred was accepted as a graduate student at Duke. They married without fanfare or fuss in a civil ceremony on October 16, 1987—one more reason that October was Terri’s favorite month.In Durham, Terri’s reputation as a chef began to blossom. As Executive Banquet Chef at the Washington Duke Inn, Terri was awarded the Triangle Chef’s Association Chef of the Year in 1998. The next year she left the for-profit food industry to dedicate herself to education and service to the non-profit community. In 2002, Terri received the Women’s Chefs & Restaurateurs Community Service Award.Wicked smart, with a completely irreverent sense of humor (surpassed only by her husband’s), Terri loved books, birthdays and the beach. She gardened—in a backyard bursting with strawberries, asparagus, figs, and beehives—the seedlings and colonies responded to her touch. She had love enough for all—for her husband, Fred, for stray cats and rescue dogs, for her friends, students, and for her coworkers. The bonds Terri forged with her kitchen team are uncommon in the workplace. In truth, they are uncommon even in close friendships. Terri took coworkers and built them into a family. Her Aunts Kathy and Eileen from New Jersey, and her Uncle Skip of Ohio visited in her last month to share stories, to laugh together and to cry together. Family, friends, and coworkers all gathered … visiting, paying respects, making small gestures of help and support. She passed from the earth as she wished: in her home, surrounded by the enduring love of her husband, animals, and a dear friend. The world is a smaller place without her in it.Please consider memorial donations instead of flowers. Terri’s favorite charities are Animal Protection Society of Durham, Independent Animal Rescue, or Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. Or just take a dear friend out to dinner. A Celebration of Life will be held St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Durham, on Saturday October 28, 1:30pm in the Parish Hall.