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Obituary: Terpening, Michael Lawrence

Wed., Sept. 19, 2012

Age 39


“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.

It’s the life in your years.”

- Abraham Lincoln
Michael Lawrence Terpening, husband, father, son, brother, friend, and businessman, died September 13, 2012 from complications of a cerebral aneurysm.

He was 39.
Born April 6, 1973 in San Diego to Sue and Larry Terpening, Michael lived his early years in Spokane, WA with his parents and sister, Allison.

His zest for life presented itself early, and to harness his energy his parents enrolled him in every sport possible- soccer, t-ball, football, swimming and tennis.

Eventually he would focus solely on golf.

Michael spent hours of his young life golfing with his parents at Manito Golf and Country Club and at various courses around the state through the Washington Junior Golf Association.

Michael was a new member at Broadmoor Golf Club and a longstanding member at Sand Point Golf and Country Club where he was Men’s Club Champion in 2009.

Michael’s swing was the envy of many and he was skilled enough to have landed three holes-in-one.

Michael graduated from the University of Washington in 1995 with a degree in business.

He was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity where he was nicknamed “Terp”, and made remarkable friendships that lasted until his passing and will continue on with his family.
In 1997, he purchased a small company and named it World Communications Incorporated (WCI).

In the subsequent years he worked diligently to grow WCI to nearly 40 employees.

He built a notably loyal customer base and received industry accolades.

Under his leadership, WCI was included in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s list of Fastest-Growing Private Businesses in the state for five consecutive years.

WCI was also recognized on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies in the US.

Michael was widely loved and admired as a hardworking, generous business figure and a compassionate CEO who cared deeply for his employees and customers.

His greatest pleasure at work was running his business alongside his best friend, Kyle Kelly, who helped bring WCI to its current successful state and provided Michael with hours of laughter in an otherwise stressful industry.
Michael always joked that he broke the number one rule of business when he dated employee Colleen Murphy.

He married the love of his life in May 2004 in one of their favorite destinations, Hawaii.

Michael and Colleen shared a life of love and laughter that included a large circle of friends.

They were avid travelers and were always either preparing for a vacation or planning their next one.

They loved weekends away just the two of them (especially to Vegas), “Team Terpening” time with the kids, fun nights with friends, Sunday mornings at the farmers market, eating at their favorite restaurants, and planning their future together.
Michael’s children, also known as his twins, five year old Cecile (Cece) and two year old George, were his pride and joy.

He was an active parent who, along with Colleen, took great pleasure in parenting.

Michael never tired of spending time with his kids.

Together they enjoyed trips to the park, Husky basketball games, baseball and golf swing practice and nightly story time.

Michael and Colleen spent most Friday nights at home with their children watching movies and eating Michael’s famous popcorn.
Within the last few months of his life, Michael managed to cover ground that many do not expect to in a much longer lifetime.

He went on a dream golf trip with 12 friends to Pinehurst, NC, hosted an annual fiesta at their home, took his beloved father “Pops” to Bandon Dunes, OR, played many rounds of golf at Sand Point Country Club and at Broadmoor Golf Club, had his third hole-in-one, bought a European dream car, and traveled to Vancouver with Colleen and the kids where he loved to play in the hotel pool for hours.

His last week of life was poignantly full of the things he enjoyed most: he went to football games of his beloved Huskies and Seahawks, laid on the beach with Colleen while watching their children collect shells, had family dinners, flew a kite with his daughter, played three rounds of golf, the last being with his father, father-in-law, and brother-in-law and dear friend Greg, washed his new car with his kids and had quiet weekend mornings at home with his wife and children.
Michael touched those around him and will be remembered for his marvelous sense of humor, larger-than-life smile, and having the ability to see the best in every person and every situation.

Friends and family often comment about his extremely generous nature, his ability to engage, his infectious laugh and his natural skill at making everyone around him feel at ease.

Michael is one in a million and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Michael is survived by his adoring wife, Colleen; children Cece and George; parents Sue and Larry Terpening; sister Allison Terpening Enell and brother-in-law Greg Enell; niece Georgia and nephew John; maternal grandfather Sun Moe Ping; paternal grandparents Darlene and Howard Herman; parents-in-law Cecile and James Murphy; in-laws Michael Murphy, Trish Murphy and husband Jeff Adams; and several loving aunts, uncles and cousins.
The family would like to thank Dr. David Newell, Dr. Peter Nora, Dr. Rod Oskouian, Dr. Jon Huseby, Dr. David Grayson, Dr. Emun Abdu, Dr. Arthur Lam, Dr. Greg Foltz and all of the incredible nurses and staff at the Swedish Cherry Hill Neuro ICU for their heartfelt care for Michael.
If you wish to honor Michael’s memory, family has suggested remembrances be sent to one of the following.

Please specify “In Memory of Michael Terpening”.
Washington Junior Golf Association, 6314 19th St. W, Suite 14, Fircrest, WA 98466.

Swedish Medical Center Foundation, 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122.
Guestbook at


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