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Theresa “Teri” Jo Schulze, 54, of Billings, left this world to be with her Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ, on Sunday, May 21, 2023, at her happy place, The Schulze Farm.
Teri was born on Jan. 23, 1969, in Bremerton, Washington, to Virginia Carol Davis and Ernest Werner Lyle. In 1971, they moved to Montana, where she grew up idolizing her best friend and older sister, Sandi. One of their mom’s favorite memories is of the girls walking through the forest in Montana, with their dog and two cats in tow. She graduated with the class of 1987 from Billings Senior High School. To further her education, in 2000, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Montana State University-Billings and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration in 2009 from Rocky Mountain College. All of this was achieved while working countless hours and multiple jobs to support herself and her children. This began her title as an educator.
During her educational career, she has inspired countless students and colleagues, creating lifelong friendships with many. Her infectious smile and positive attitude touched every soul she encountered. Her influence will be felt for generations to come.
In the summer of 1988, she met Jamie Zeigler and, in 1989, they married in Columbus. Shortly after, in 1990, they welcomed their first child: their daughter Jessica. In 1992, they added to their family with their son, Kraig. They spent their time together developing a love for the outdoors, which continued throughout her life.
In the spring of 1995, she married Shane DeRudder and they welcomed their daughter, Casey, in 1996. They spent the next 13 years raising their family in Billings, enjoying everything Montana had to offer. During this time, she served as President of the PTA in her children’s schools and began a daycare in her home, inspiring her to pursue her passion in Education.
Teri met Paul Schulze in 2015 while she was working at her second job as a bookseller. He heard the kindness in her voice while she was interacting with an older couple and knew that she was the one. They were married in 2017 and continued to share their love for the outdoors, enjoying many years hiking, fishing, hunting, camping and spending time at their cabin in Nye. In 2021, together they purchased the Schulze Farm, her Happy Place.
For many years, Teri was an active member at St. Pius X Church, serving as a Eucharistic minister, and was involved in the St. Vincent De Paul community. She was the former President of the local chapter of ADK sorority.
Teri was a gifted artist. She loved photography, paint and pottery. This love of art inspired her to create her own business, The Gifts of Imperfection. Her love of colors shown bright in her art and in the way she lived her life. Those who knew and had the pleasure of being in Teri’s presence were always blessed with her great sense of humor and her eccentric fashion style. Her love for art was only surpassed by her love of nature and family.
Of her many titles, being Grandma was her most precious pride and joy. She attended any and all events to support her grandchildren’s many pursuits by consistently being the loudest cheerleader in the audience, no matter the setting. Teri loved sharing her Happy Place with her grandchildren, especially through feeding her chickens, going for walks and picking berries in the raspberry patch while simultaneously sharing her wisdom and advice.
Teri is preceded in death by her grandparents. She is survived by her beloved husband, Paul Schulze of Billings; her children, Jessica (Cody) Eichel of Billings, Kraig (Jess Matusik) Zeigler of Billings, Casey (Chris) Coburn of Bridger; stepchildren Shane (Julie) Schulze of Billings, Cade Schulze of Billings; grandchildren Keegan, Olivia, Benjamin, Joplin, Lennon, “Little” Paul, Haley, all of Billings; parents Virginia Davis of Billings, Ernest Lyle of Grayland, Washington; sister Sandra (Greg) Ruprecht of Greenville, Texas; nieces/nephews, Allison (Michael) Fincher of Sulphur Springs, Texas, Nathan (Jazmin) Ruprecht of Melbourne, Florida, Alyssa (Cody) Lawwill of Sulphur Springs, Texas, Nicholas Ruprecht of Greenville, Texas; beloved extended family, friends, students, and dogs, Jack and Forest of Billings.
Vigil will take be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, at Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary, 1001 Alderson Ave., Billings. Catholic Mass service will be at 12 noon on Wednesday, May 31, at St. Patrick Co-Cathedral, 215 N. 31st St., Billings. Graveside service will take place following Mass at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Celebration of Life will be from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 31, at DanWalt Gardens, 720 Washington St., Billings.
Memorial funds and donations can be made in Teri’s honor to St. Vincent de Paul of Billings.