Donald M. "Don" Terrill 55, passed away on Thursday, December 13, 2018. He was born May 18, 1963 in St. Joseph, MI to Donald L. and Peggy (Dahl) Terrill. Don was united in marriage to the former Beverly Frye on July 17, 2002. Don is survived by his wife, Beverly Terrill; step-children, Jessica (Alex) Westervelt and Nicholas Watts; 4 grandchildren, Claire, Abigail, Hannah and Alexander II; mother, Peggy Wright; brother, Jeff Terrill of Charlotte, NC; Step-brothers Scott and Craig Smith of Wilmington, NC; Aunt Freda Marks and very special cousin, Jayna (Chris) Mullett and family. Also surviving is his beloved Mother-in-Law Jewell Frye of Ranger, WV, brother-in-law Rocky (Ruthie) Frye of Melbourne FL whom he visited during the winter to golf and play guitar, Tanja Williamson and Cecelia Price of Ranger, WV, Shelia (Joe) Shepherd of Salt Rock, WV and Terrill (Kristie) Frye of PA. He leaves behind a host of heartbroken nieces and nephews including a special niece Ryanna (Cory) Adkins of Milton, WV. Preceding him in death was his father and Step-Mother Linda Terrill; his paternal grandparents who helped raise him, Horace "Chief" and Roberta "Bobbie" Terrill and maternal grandmother Shirley Dahl. Don also lost his dog Kira in 2014 that left a never healing hole in his heart.
Don grew up on the bluff of Lake Michigan where his grandparents owned Silver Beach Amusement Park. He graduated from St Joe High School in 1981. Don was on the bowling team in high school and finally a few years after graduation, won his 300 ring at Holiday Lanes. He had the entrepreneur bug early and always had a side business even when working a "real" job. Don owned Precision Speed that later became Terrill Engineering. He built high performance engines but was also a successful drag racer. Don was track champion at what is now 131 Motorsports Park in his first year driving in the points race. He was runner up the following year. In 1992 he was champion in his class at the US Nationals in Indianapolis with the car he and best friend Brian Berk built. Brian went on to win that same trophy with the same car the following year. Don built many successful engines locally, which led to a job with NASCAR's Team SABCO in Mooresville, NC. He built the qualifying engines and won 2 poles, one with Joe Nemechek at the helm and the other with Robby Gordon. This was his first and only season in NASCAR.
Fellow engine builder Joe Hornick is credited for helping Don secure the position in NASCAR which led to drastic changes in Don's life and career path. In 1996 Don and Beverly met thru the Charlotte Observer personal ads. Their first date was November 21, 1996. By June of 1998, Don and Beverly had moved from Charlotte NC to Kalamazoo MI. His next venture led him to join the internet craze, launching his new business "Racing Secrets". He began writing and selling "how to" books on everything to do with racing. He found success with "How to get a job in NASCAR" as well as many others but his greatest achievement was a book on engine building that today is titled "The Horsepower Chain". Don partnered with several others, such as Milt Gedo, Tami Eggleston and local Phil Veldeer to create exclusive products for Racing Secrets. He was writing his carb porting book when he passed. Don started and ran a highly successful forum "Speedtalk.com". There you will find interviews with some of racings best engine builder and racers alike. His day though revolved around the racing forum.
The other major life change was Don getting married and co-parenting Jessica and Nicholas. Jessica made her home with Don and Beverly so she was with him thru the business startup and became an employee at age 11. Jessica ran the distribution and marketing part of the business for over 10 years. Don was very proud of her accomplishments as she went on to higher education, earning her Master's degree and a successful position at Stryker. But the best gift she and Alex gave him were his 4 beautiful grandchildren whom he spent time with nearly every Sunday afternoon. Nicholas was Don's intellectual partner. There was the special bond between them because of their thirst for knowledge and a love of books. Don's strength, intelligence, perseverance and integrity will live on in the boy who became a son to him.
Don renewed his love of golf in 2006 and was a member at Ridgeview golf course for many years. He had great league partners and made many friends during those years. He won league championships and had countless weekly wins. He always loved competition.
The family will greet friends on Tuesday, December 18th from 6-8 pm at Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Westside Chapel, 3926 S. 9th St. A memorial service will be held at the chapel on Wednesday, December 19th at 11am, where the family will also greet friends from 10-11am just prior to the service. A committal service will follow in Hill Cemetery. Memorial donations may be directed to 12th Street Baptist Church Kalamazoo, MI. Please visit Don's personalized webpage at www.langelands.com.
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