Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) - January 22, 1995
Deceased Name: MEMORIAL SERVICE HELD FOR MCGOVERN COMPASSION AMID DISEASE REMEMBERED
In her own words, Teresa McGovern, who died last month, said what those who knew her could only painfully witness.
''I truly cannot believe that I've let myself stay sick so long,'' wrote McGovern to her mother, Eleanor, in early November.
''I'm so sad, Mom. I don't want to be a source of worry or pain for my family and am sorry that I have been unable to grasp recovery.''
McGovern's letter, read by her sister, Ann, at a memorial service Saturday at the Unitarian Meeting House on University Bay Drive, spoke of Teresa's love of her two daughters and her battle with alcoholism.
The two-hour service celebrated McGovern's compassion for others and confronted the disease that took her life. Those who spoke of her reminded all that it was McGovern's loving heart, not her raging demons, for which she will be remembered.
''Teresa gave more to life than she demanded,'' said the Rev. Michael Schuler, who led the service, attended by 150 people including McGovern's father, George, the former U.S. Senator from South Dakota and presidential candidate, and his wife.
Teresa McGovern, known as Terry, died of exposure on Dec. 13 in Madison at the age of 45 after a 30-year battle with alcoholism. She had been in and out of alcohol treatment programs since her arrival in the city in the 1970s.
At Saturday's service, friends and family fondly recalled the life of a woman with a remarkable ability to reach out to others despite her failure to conquer her disease.
Whether at the Red Caboose Day Care Center where she coddled children, or at the alcohol recovery programs in which she tried to help herself and others, or in loving exchanges with her family, McGovern touched hearts and boosted spirits, friends said.
''There are people all over who found new life because of her,'' said William Wineke, McGovern's chaplain at the Wisconsin Rescue Mission and a Wisconsin State Journal reporter.
''There can be no memory more fitting than to create a world more full of kindness and caring for all people,'' said Brian Lochen, a Madison physician who treated McGovern for her alcoholism.
Sen. McGovern added levity to a solemn service when he described how his daughter would have reacted if she had seen how his suit jacket had split up the back, as it curiously had done Saturday morning.
''If Terry were here, no one would be laughing harder -- to see her father's backside exposed,'' he said.
Sen. McGovern told mourners that Teresa's daughters, Colleen, 7, and Marion, 9, who live with their father, Raymond Frey, were the passion of her life. He asked the community to look after the children.
Sen. McGovern also thanked Madison for protecting his daughter through her personal battles.
''She never would have lived as long as she did if it weren't for this humane and compassionate place,'' he said.
1 Sen. George McGovern
2 Ann McGovern
2 Teresa “Terry” Jane McGovern, b. abt. 1949, d. 13 Dec 1994, Madison, WI
3 Colleen Frey
3 Marion Frey
Wisconsin Death Index, 1959-1997
Name: Teresa Jane McGovern
Death Date: 13 Dec 1994
Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) - December 18, 1994
Deceased Name: MOURNERS RECALL MCGOVERN'S CARE FOR OTHERS, PAIN
Teresa Jane McGovern, whose tormented adult life ended in a Wisconsin snowdrift, came home Saturday to the city where she grew up as the daughter of a U.S. senator who ran for president with her at his side.
''There is no glossing over the pain here,'' the Rev. J. Philip Wogaman said at her funeral in one of the largest churches in the nation's capital five days after her body was found in a Madison alley. Official cause of the 45-year-old woman's death was hypothermia in a state of acute intoxication.
Her father, former Sen. George McGovern, D-S.D., who lost to Richard Nixon in the presidential landslide of 1972, and his wife, Eleanor, dabbed at their eyes. The McGoverns remained in Washington after he left the Senate in 1980.
''Those who believe Terry's life had little meaning'' should realize that her ''deep sensitivity touched the lives of more people than we will ever know,'' the pastor continued. He said some details are just emerging.
Three of those touched spoke at the service in Washington's Foundry United Methodist church attended by about 200 people.
''Terry is the person who saved my life,'' said a fellow Alcoholics Anonymous member, Donald Berlin of Chicago. ''She reached out to me so that I could be here today.
The tragedy is those who have to die to keep the rest of us sober,'' he said, recalling that, encouraged by Teresa McGovern, he finally gave up drinking at Christmas in 1988.
''Not all the senators and congressmen before you and after you can legislate a person to sobriety,'' Berlin said, addressing McGovern. ''That power is given only to God.''
''Terry, who wasn't able to help herself, helped others,'' said Washington Post columnist Hobart Rowen. ''Like Mr. Berlin, I received a gift from Terry.
I learned to be grateful for every day,'' he said, recalling her encouragement in his own struggle against cancer. Sam McGovern-Rowen and Matthew McGovern-Rowen, two of four McGovern grandsons who read from the scripture, are also grandsons of Rowen.
Teresa's daughters, Marian, 9, and Colleen, 7, came from Madison for the funeral with their father, Raymond Frey. From church, the family went to a private burial in Washington's Rock Creek Cemetery. The couple separated about eight years ago.
Nicki Abourezk, daughter of former South Dakota Sen. James Abourezk, sang at the service, which ended with McGovern grandchildren placing flowers on the casket. Ethel Kennedy, widow of former attorney general and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was among those at the funeral.
Akron Beacon Journal (OH) - December 15, 1994
Deceased Name: GEORGE MCGOVERN'S DAUGHTER DIES AT 45
Teresa "Terry" McGovern, a daughter of 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern who often shared the public spotlight with him, was found dead in the snow after years of struggle with alcoholism.
The 45-year-old woman had been receiving treatment at a Madison detoxification center, said the former South Dakota senator.
An autopsy showed she died of "hypothermia due to exposure while in a state of acute alcohol intoxification," said Dane County Coroner Ray Wosepka. Her body was found Tuesday behind a dilapidated building in a seedy neighborhood.
She had lived in Madison for most of the last 15 years, her father said. The McGoverns have three other daughters and a son.
She was not married but had two daughters, Marian, 9, and Colleen, 7, who live in Madison with their father, Raymond Frey, said a sister, Ann McGovern of Washington. Frey said they had been separated for about eight years.
McGovern, who served in Congress from 1963 to 1981, was nominated for president in 1972 and lost the general election to Republican Richard M. Nixon.