Terry L. Munsell, 74, of rural Chehalis, Washington, passed away April 13, 2022.
Terry began his life in Napavine, Washington. He lived a half block away from the school. Terry attended grade school and Napavine High School there and that is where his love of sports began, playing little league and Babe Ruth baseball. Later, he excelled as a running back and defensive back in high school football and was a pitcher and shortstop in baseball. In track, he also excelled at the broad jump and as a point guard in basketball. Terry married his high school sweetheart, Lorita Phillips, at Chehalis Baptist Church on Sept 20, 1969. Terry graduated from Seattle Pacific College in 1970.
During college, he worked at the old Callison’s in Chehalis, driving shipments of floral greenery to Oregon and up the British Columbia Coast to Powell River, BC. It was a white-knuckle trip that included two ferry crossings and could start in brilliant sunshine and end in snow.
He then worked with Lorita’s father as a carpenter at Northwest Homes in Chehalis. Terry received his first teaching position at Boistfort School in 1971 and spent one year teaching a combination of seventh and eighth grade classes while coaching football and basketball. Terry then taught 13 years at Adna and coached football, basketball, track and girls fastpitch. The next four years, he spent at Napavine, and finally, finished his career with 21 years at Pe Ell High School in Pe Ell, Washington. Coaching was always his first love: football, basketball, track and baseball. He loved them all and working with the kids. Terry actually called all his students “his kids.” Sometimes it was hard to know whether he meant his children or his students.
Terry and Lorita’s first trip after retirement was a six-week long trip with their travel trailer, traveling down through California and back up the Oregon Coast, staying at any campground near the ocean. The next fall, they had a memorable road trip in their car through Yosemite, Tioga Pass, Lake Mono, Death Valley, Las Vegas, enjoying a train ride from Williams to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks, Bryce Canyon, Ogden, Utah and Great Salt Lake, then home through Idaho and Oregon. It was 27 days of fun sights. Together, they enjoyed many trips back east to Connecticut to visit their daughter’s family and the nearby states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York. In 2016, they finally got their whole family to Hawaii together, a bucket list item of Terry’s. In the spring and fall, they continued to spend two weeks in Carlsbad, California, plus another two week trip to Hawaii every year, along with a few camping trips to the beach. In 2018, a special trip was made with friends to Hawaii island and Oahu. Terry and Lorita’s last few trips to Arizona were to visit good friends. The latest trip in February 2022 was very important to Terry, as it was just before he got sick.
Terry was very involved in his children’s lives, Dani and Scott, and their sports and music. During their youth, the family took frequent trips to attend their musical events, as well as Dani's fastpitch softball games and tournaments and Scott's motorcycle races. Together, they also took many camping trips to the beach, especially Kalaloch, on the Olympic Peninsula and two memorable trips to Disneyland. The family made frequent four-wheel ATV excursions with close friends to Capitol Forest and to the Boistfort-Pe Ell area. During the summer, Terry played slow pitch softball, mostly with the Yard Birds team. He and his family traveled to many games (112 one summer) and tournaments with the same group of players and families who quickly became another extended family and life-long friends.
In recent years, he was so proud of his grandchildren, who participate in many sports including taekwondo, archery, wrestling, fastpitch and all their musical endeavors.
Terry played the trumpet for many years, passing it on to his son and granddaughter, who currently plays his trumpet at Chehalis Middle School. With the help of Lorita’s father, Lorita and Terry built their own house and he continued to enjoy working with his hands on carpentry projects around the home. Terry built a huge pirate ship for his grandchildren in the backyard, adding to it every year.
Terry was preceded in death by his father Terrell A. Munsell, mother Jean L. Snodgrass Munsell Unfred, stepfather Franklin Unfred, and Lorita’s father and mother that he was very close to, Emerick W. Phillips and Thelma M. Phillips, who often said he was the son they never had.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years Lorita N. Phillips Munsell, daughter Danielle Munsell Howard, son-in-law Rob P. Howard, son Scott A. Munsell, daughter-in-law Joanna Saari Munsell, grandchildren Jackson P. Howard, Fox A. Howard and Jared M. Munsell, and granddaughter Breanna L. Munsell.
The family would like to thank Providence Centralia Hospital Emergency Room staff, the nurses and doctors on the second floor for their compassionate care and Assured Home Hospice, who worked so quickly to get him back home with us.
A celebration of life will be held at 2 p.m. on April 30, 2022 at the Adna High School commons and gymnasium.