Jon Terence "Terry" Mildenberg

jon terence mildenberg

September 30, 1946 ~ August 29, 2021

Born in: Chicago, IL
Resided in: Fletcher, NC

Jon Terence Mildenberg passed away peacefully in Asheville, NC on August 29, 2021.

He leaves behind his loving wife of 34 years, Dorothy K. Mildenberg of Fletcher, NC; his children Scott M. Eason and wife Taylor E. Eason of Washington, D.C., his son Christopher J. Mildenberg of Sturgis, MI, and his daughter Laurie A. (Mildenberg) Lawson and her husband Peter O. Lawson of Novato, CA. Terry also had five grandchildren: Elle E. Bowman, Frances B. Mildenberg, Jon Oliver Mildenberg, Addy Lou Lawson and Eleanor H. Lawson. He was affectionately known as “Papa T” to his family.

He was preceded in death by his mother Ethel C. (Thomson) Mildenberg, his father Joseph H. Mildenberg, sister Jeanine Kelly and brother Lauren Mildenberg.

His father was one of the founders of Sturgis Carton Company, sellling the business to Rockford Paper Mills in 1959, continuing as a vice-president at Rockford for 20 years.

Terry was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 30, 1946, and grew up in Sturgis, Michigan where he attended Sturgis High School (class of 1964). He attended Michigan State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in packaging in 1968.

Terry worked as a packager, salesman, as well as a real estate developer in Danville, Illinois before ultimately returning to Sturgis to take a management position at Lakeland Paper Corporation in 1975. In Jul, 1976, he founded United Paper, Inc., also in Sturgis. United Paper was a successful paper sheeting company that was subsequently sold to Federal Paper Board in 1989.

Terry and Dorothy were married on July 25, 1987, and resided on Klinger Lake in Sturgis for many years. The first Klinger Lake fireworks display was in celebration of their first anniversary, and has been an annual July 4th tradition on the lake ever since.

Terry and Dorothy moved to Wilmington, NC in1991, where he owned and produced Henry O. fishing boats, was a Heavenly Ham franchisee, and later was the developer and owner of Sentry Self Storage with locations in Wilmington, NC, Fayetteville, NC and Southport, SC. Terry and the family are immensely grateful to Anni Seitz and Svend and Katie Mathiesen for their dedication, loyalty and hard work in making Sentry the success that it is.

Terry and Dorothy loved to travel the world together and even owned homes in the Cayman Islands and Exuma Bahamas. Terry had a passion for Corvettes, fast boats, yachts and even had a small engine pilot’s license in his youth. He enjoyed taking his children and grandchildren fishing, tubing and water skiing on Klinger Lake and later, on Lake Lure in North Carolina. Terry also enjoyed saltwater fishing, entering several fishing tournaments with his friends on his boats, :Lady D” and “Miss Dorothy” named after his wife.

Terry could find humor in any situation and had a way of keeping everyone calm and at peace through his humor, even in the most dire of situations. He loved his family above all else and had a ay of making everyone in his presence feel loved and included. Terry was never one to keep his feelings from you on a variety of topics but most importantly, he told you that he loved you with every opportunity he would get. He was as authentic, passionate and raw as they come. He will be greatly missed by all of his family and friends.

The family would like to extend a big thank you to Lin de Illy, Terry and Dorothy’s neighbors, and all their friends who walked alongside them and offered their love and support during this time, and throughout the years.

The family will be having a private memorial. In lieu of flowers, donations to honor Terry can be made to Black Mountain Home in Black Mountain, NC (

We welcome all of your memories, fun stories and Terry-isms that you wish to share.

He lived by this phrase and would want you to remember:

Whatever you vividly imagine
Ardently Desire
Sincerely Believe,
And Enthusiastically Act Upon
Must Inevitably Come to Pass.
– Paul J. Meyer.

We love and miss you Papa T!


Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home - Patton Ave.
1401 Patton Ave.
Asheville, NC 28806


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Memories Timeline


  1. Lauri and Chris,
    I am sincerely sorry for your loss and hope you will enjoy your memories of your dad and the fun life you shared! He and your mom together and separately raised wonderful children Dan and I just love!! My condolences to you both, your families, Dorothy and Scott and family! So sorry. Debbie Martin

  2. God’s blessings to you all.
    Terry always made you feel loved.
    Quick to smile, a kind gentle man .
    Remembering our cooking get togethers and boat rides.
    Forever in our hearts !

  3. Dorothy—Marilyn was so kind to pass on the sad news about Terry’s death. Know you are experiencing rollercoaster emotions. My heart & prayers are with you! When you return to Wilmington, I told Marilyn to include me with a visit with you. Have missed seeing you and I’ll hope to see you at some point soon. Take care as I know each day is a challenge.
    Love, Marie Cooke

    • So sorry to hear about Terry’s passing my thoughts and prayers for you all! Hoping for peace in the days to come.

  4. Rest in peace my friend many good time as well as bad were had. My head is filled with memories I will and already do miss your taking me to task. Your disobediant servant !!!! Rick and Barb

  5. So so so so so many amazing and lasting memories growing up, visiting my Uncle Terry (including Chris and Laurie) in Sturgis and again in Wilmington. He will be missed but never forgotten. The entire Kelly family (Mary, Grace & April) sends our love and thoughts to everyone who has been touched in some way by my uncle over the years. Rest in peace Uncle T, Love Brian.

  6. I am devastated to hear that Terry has left us for his better place. I have so many happy memories of him… happy on his boats on the water, both in Sturgis on the lake and in Wilmington on the intracoastal. He was generous and fun! May he RIL and peace.

  7. So many memories of doing things, going places, and working with Terry teaching him woodworking, wood turning, and especially baby cradle making! Terry loved life to the fullest, loved his family to the fullest, and loved his friends sincerely. We will forever remember out times together, and forever cherish our memories.

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