Penwell Turner Funeral Home - Shelby, Ohio

Terry L. Zuercher

Terry L. Zuercher, our beloved husband, father, Papa, coach, and friend, passed away peacefully Friday night, September 4, 2020 at The James Cancer Center at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus surrounded by his family. Terry’s brief battle with T-Cell Lymphoma was one he fought strongly to the very end. He was 73.

Terry was born April 22, 1947, in Millersburg, Ohio to the late Venus and Cora (Miller) Zuercher. He was a 1965 graduate of West Holmes High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in education in 1969 from Ashland University. He later earned a master’s in education from Bowling Green State University. Terry spent his entire teaching career in the Shelby City School district, starting at the middle school and later moving to the high school. He taught various courses over the years, all being social studies related, and retired in 2004. After retirement, Terry was a tutor at the Success Center at Pioneer Career and Technology Center for 6 years.

However, everyone who knew Terry knew his love and passion was running- not only the sport itself, but, more importantly, the runners, their families, and what it instilled in the individuals involved. Always, with his wife and family by his side, Terry deeply cared about the Shelby Whippet Cross Country and Track programs making them well respected all over the state of Ohio. Terry’s love for running became his family’s passion too.

As so eloquently stated by his honorary son, Nathan Phillips, “He took every new class of young men and didn’t just teach them how to compete but taught them how to live. He taught us all how to treat others, and how to have fun. He motivated all of us with a pat on the back, a “great job,” a “that’s what we needed,” or often in my case “I need two more” (runners) because there was often way more than two more people in front of me but that was a more realistically achievable goal than “I need fifty.” He set goals for all of us, and he was often more excited than we were when we reached them whether it was the guy running a sixteen-minute 5k or the guy running a twenty-one-minute 5k. This methodology of goal setting provided the roadmap for us to be successful in the rest of our lives and he did this for all of us. He also emphasized acting with class in all aspects of our lives because we did not just represent ourselves, we represented all past and future Shelby Cross Country team members with our actions. We were a family after all. Coach was always there to celebrate our accomplishments with an abundance of joy. He also was there to provide guidance, analysis, and perspective in those moments of chaos or when we messed up. He was always there to help you do the right thing, even if it might take a long discussion during a run to figure it out. He also was great for many a laugh over the years. I want to live in a world with more Coach Zuerchers.”

He excelled as a coach for over 57 seasons as a track and cross country coach at Shelby. In track, he spent his first seven years coaching junior high and the next 27 years as the distance coach at the high school. The Shelby track team won State in 2003 & 2004.

Coach Zuercher guided 3X All-Ohio Jason Mueller to an indoor National Championship in the 3200 and several outdoor 1600 and 3200 State Championships.

In Cross Country, Coach Z won 8 Districts, 2 Regionals and was second at State in 1985. Shelby was represented at State 15 times in his 23 seasons. His dual meet record was 182-41. His teams placed first or second in 59 invitationals. 1988 graduate Jim Loveless went on to become an All-American at Kent State.

It was these accomplishments, and many more, which led to Terry’s induction into the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches in 2009- an award he humbly accepted saying, “I believe you’ve made a mistake.” We all know there was no mistake. He was also inducted into the Holmes County Hall of Fame.

After his retirement, his son Chris filled his void and became the high school cross country and track coach. Terry never stopped coaching for one moment and remained faithful to assisting Chris and many athletes for the last 16 years, especially with he and Linda always having the tent and site ready at each meet before the athletes arrived.

But running was not Terry’s only hobby, although he also completed 14 marathons, including the Boston Marathon, numerous ½ marathons, and countless 5ks. He loved everything outside and in nature, from having the greenest thumb while tending to his plants and garden to fishing. There was no aspect of horticulture that he had not tried. He especially loved going to the family farm, spending time there and enjoying the beauty of God’s nature. He was not one to sit at home, but rather enjoyed traveling and was always willing to go anywhere. He also enjoyed car racing, having been a season pass holder at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course since 1992. Terry and Linda are members of Trinity United Methodist Church.

Terry had a hierarchy of whom he loved specifically in this order: his loving wife of 49 years and teammate through everything, Linda L. (Long) Zuercher whom he wed on June 26, 1971; his grandchildren: Beckett, Bennett, and Griffin: and then his sons and daughters-in-law, who got bumped a slightly lower, but not too far, after the grandkids arrived: Christopher and Sarah Zuercher and Michael and Rochelle Zuercher. His role as Papa is one that he shined in. He would do anything that the kids asked and has instilled so much knowledge on each of them.

Also surviving are: his brother and sister-in-law, Ted and Debra Zuercher, and their children, Julie (Chuck) Thornton, Ted (Mary Beth) Zuercher, and PJ Zuercher; his sister-in-law: Debra Long and her children: Ralph (Jackelyn) Long and Daniel (Jaclyn) Long; his aunt: Elsie Byler; and numerous great nieces and nephews, other relatives, and a host of runners and students. In addition to his parents, his brother-in-law, Ralph Long, and mother and father-in-law, Ralph and Joanne Long, preceded him in death.

Family and friends are welcome on Thursday, September 10, 2020 from 2-8 pm at the Penwell Turner Funeral Home, 168 West Main Street, Shelby. Visitors are asked to wear masks to the visitation.

It is with great honor and respect that Terry’s funeral will be held on Friday, September 11, 2020 at 10:30 am at the Shelby High School Track. Seating will be available in both the infield and bleachers. Those attending are encouraged to be comfortable- wear your running clothes and Shelby Whippet gear and bring a blanket to sit on. Rev. Paula Archdeacon, the Zuercher’s friend, will officiate the services.

When speaking to a friend once about how they would go on vacation and go for runs, the friend’s puzzled expression and question of “Why?!” was answered promptly and sincerely with, “Because we’re Zuercher’s…we run.” Therefore, in Terry’s honor, all those able are encouraged to do a final run with Terry at the conclusion of his funeral services from the track to Oakland Cemetery, his final resting place- a 1.5-mile run. Please come dressed to the funeral services in the appropriate running attire.

Memorial contributions in Terry’s honor may be made to Trinity Shining Lights Preschool or Shelby Whippet Athletic Boosters specifically for the Cross Country and Track Programs and left in care of the funeral home.

Appropriate ways to express sympathy for those unable to attend may be done by leaving an online condolence at or by leaving a comment on Terry’s obituary on the funeral home’s Facebook page,

Memories & Condolence

  1. Clarence and Nancy Ousley says:

    Dear Family! So sorry for your loss! He was a great man and so well respected! Thinking of you!

  2. Patti Mallett says:

    Dearest Linda, It’s with a heavy heart that I write, after reading that wonderful obituary. As anyone who knows Terry would say, he was the example of a fine man – and also a boy and a teenager.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and the family – especially for you, his number one love. What a joy to have such a special relationship, but it leaves a huge void. My prayers will be asking God to shower you with strength, peace, and healing. With love, Patti

  3. Ann Cooper says:

    Linda and family I am so sorry to hear about Terry. I will always remember seeing you and Terry running around West Smiley. I know you have all your precious memories and may you draw on the strength of the Lord to help you through these difficult days. May God bless you all.

  4. Jody Hall says:

    Linda, I’m so sorry for the loss of your husband. What a beautiful obituary. Prayers and stay safe

  5. Chelsie Kaple says:

    To the Zuercher family I am so sorry to hear of your loss. You all have always been a warm and loving family and I know he will be running the streets in heaven as he did here on earth. My thoughts are with you all in this hard time.

  6. Ed Russell says:

    A damn good man. Nothing more needs to be said. My condolences to all of you. May he rest in peace.

  7. Randy and Jan Pry says:

    You are all in our thoughts and prayers. We are so very sorry to hear of your loss. May the Lord comfort you, give you peace and provide for you strength in the days ahead. Randy and Jan Pry

  8. Bill Van Horn says:

    A great guy, and one of my early teaching friends, at the Jr. High. We always greeted each other, as Z Boy and Bill Boy (an inside joke). He will be missed by all who knew him. R.I.P Z Boy. He was a great teacher and coach!

  9. Cheryl Williams says:

    What a legacy! Your lives have touched so many young people throughout the years. Linda, my heart breaks for you and your beautiful family. May you find peace and comfort in those memories.My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  10. Rick young says:

    So sorry for your loss, very liked and well respected individual!

  11. Sandi Cleveland says:

    Certainly there has been no finer man than Terry! I can’t imagine the loss you are all experiencing. Praying for your strength and comfort Linda, Chris, Michael, and your entire family. I am so sorry.

    Sandi Cleveland

  12. Ray and Barb Kilgore says:

    We send our deepest sympathy to you Linda and your family. He was a great person. Our community has lost a great one. So sorry we will be out of town we would have been honored to make the run to cemetery.

  13. Julie Frankl says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I know that running was his love and yet, I watched him make a great impact on many, including me, in the middle school classroom–at a time when young people need to be seen and lifted to the selves they want to see as possible. Crazy how a torn piece of a blotter with a personalized “award” or nickname will be kept as a treasure–when given by a teacher who’s a blessing to the community and one who chooses to truly see.

  14. Heather Brooks says:

    My sincere sympathy to you and your family for your loss! Thoughts and prayers for you and your family during this very difficult time!

  15. Jocelyn McAuley says:

    God bless you Linda & entire Zuercher family. We are going to miss him so much at Trinity church. The cross country teams & track teams will miss his presence but his Spirit will be there. And of course Chris will be coaching with all the love & guidance Terry taught him. My love & prayers.

  16. Carol Pasheilich Hawkins says:

    Linda and family. I am so very sorry for your loss. Terry was a genuinely nice person that will be truly missed. His memory will give you peace and also smiles to carry you forward. Know that my prayers go with you.

  17. Leslie Stick Snavely says:

    Thinking of you all Chris, Linda and family! A wonderful man that made a tremendous impact on so many of us.

  18. Brent Bonecutter says:

    A great man that changed the lives of so many others. I will miss him.

  19. Jenifer Miller says:

    Dear sweet Linda and family,
    Such beautiful words and tributes here and everywhere we are seeing for your Terry, our Terry. So many hearts who love you and your family just as we loved Terry. My heart is broken for you all and I am beyond thankful for the small part of his life that I shared. I feel like I really know all of you, all of your runners. What encouragement and joy Terry (and Linda) you have brought to each who know you in any way. What a team….all of you. May God’s grace and peace and presence surround you today and in all the days ahead. I love you! Jenifer (classmate of Terry’s, but blessed to call Linda and each of you my friends!)

  20. Judy & Mike Caporini says:

    So sorry for your loss Zuercher family. The void left behind will be impossible to fill. Trust in God and know He will help you find strength and peace. Prayers….

  21. Gary Johnson says:

    The world became a little less gentle of a place to live Friday night with the passing of my friend Terry Zuercher. So Sorry for your loss Linda and Family he was special. Whenever I saw Terry was coming in to the office I had to leave a little extra time so we could discuss our Maine vacations. He will be missed by all who knew him. Gary Johnson

  22. Patrick Martin says:

    So sorry to hear of Terry’s passing, but glad to hear of the love and legacy. My experience with Terry was limited to a couple of high school years, but they were very good. Terry was accepting and encouraging to me as an outsider coming into a very close knit community. His good humor and kind attention was important to allowing me to integrate and succeed in those final years of high school. Though we did not stay in close contact, I have nothing but fond memories and positive feelings about Terry, and it is clear that I am not alone in those thoughts. Please accept my sincere condolences.

  23. Robb Scott says:

    he was my American history teacher in my Jr year 1994 and the very first thing he told us was ” I tell 2 jokes a year, at the beginning and then one at the end of the year. Hefe is my first joke. A big moron and a little moron were standing on a cliff. The big moron fell off. Why didn’t the other one fall? Cause he was a little more on”. Run in heaven Mr Zuercher!!!!!!!

  24. George Guins says:

    Terry and i were competitors and friends for many years. He will be missed by all. We will certainly miss him at the many lunches we shared. He was a great story teller. Dom, Ken and i will surely miss our good friend. Our condolences to linda, Chris and the whole Zeurcher Family.

  25. Matt Rish says:

    Coach Z. was a first class man, teacher, coach and neighbor! Condolences to the Zuercher family!

  26. Tom and Linda Rish says:

    Terry was a man in exactly the job he was made for. A great motivator of young people. Greatly appreciated by those of us that saw it first hand. May god bless the family.

  27. Anne Stock says:

    Prayers for all of the Zuercher family. Terry was the best example of a kind and supporting teacher, coach and human being.

  28. Jane and Ken Gremlinh says:

    Dear Linda, our prayers are with you each and every day. Both of you were always together for 49 years the same with us. I don’t know how I will deal with this but God will walk you through day by day. We still talk about the Christmas party you had a few years back and what a lovely home and time we had

  29. Steve & Peg Allerding says:

    A touching and beautiful obituary for a life well-lived but far too short. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family, Linda. We pray that you will all find peace in knowing that Terry is, once again, running unemcumbered on the path of eternity and with each and every one of you in heart and soul. God’s blessings be upon you all.

  30. Ron and Jill Weikle says:

    To the Family:
    You have our deepest sympathy for your loss.

    Mike and Rochelle,
    We are right next door if you need anything.

  31. LAUREEN BETTAC says:

    Linda and Family, We are so very sorry for your loss. With love and prayers, Paul and Laureen Bettac

  32. Martha Roberts says:

    Linda I am so sorry for you loss and reading that you are going to have the service at the Shelby High School Track what a wonderful way of Celebrating his life.

    Martha Roberts

  33. Tracy Patrick says:

    Linda, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. It was my privilege to know Coach Z as a coach when I was in high school, as a mentor to my nephew and later as we all became grandparents. He will be greatly missed. May peace be with you during this difficult time.

  34. jim sorenson says:

    Zuerchers – My deepest condolences! I always enjoyed my conversations with Terry, and seeing him running with the students. Linda worked where I work, at Pioneer, and I have worked with son Chris for many years on various educational projects. May God help you through this time; May God rest his soul.

  35. Linda Bloomfield says:

    What a beautiful tribute to an amazing man who made a difference in our community. He was an example to all of us. Holding all of the Zeurcher family up in prayers. May God wrap his arms around all of you and give you peace.

  36. Pat Weaver says:

    Linda and Family, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear husband. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult tme.

  37. Ann Coward says:

    Zuercher family May God grant you peace and serenity knowing that Terry is with his God. I feel honored to have taught with Terry is only for a short time.

  38. Mary Ann Parish says:

    Linda, I am so sorry for your loss. God’s grace be with you. Mary Ann Parish

  39. Nancy Foltz says:

    For many years, passing a runner alongside the road has made me think of Terry, checking to see if it was him. I know I will always continue to do this. Love and caring wishes to you and your family.

  40. Jo Ann Ritchie says:

    My Dear Friend Linda,
    There are no words, of course, so I just will tell you my heart is hurting for you and your family. Please know that I, like hundreds of people, have fond memories of “Z”. We were kindred spirits in the ole’ Success Center with many similar ideas on teaching social studies, how great students were, Administration problems (he was often a good sounding board), and especially music. I appreciated his dry, wicked sense of humor and his great smile. I am so glad he got to be a granddad and you have those precious little souls to comfort you. I will hold you in my heart, dear Linda and wish you peace.
    Sincerely, Jo Ann

  41. Betsy (Butler) Carpenter says:

    Dear Linda, I am so very sorry for your great loss. Will keep you and your entire family in my thoughts and prayers during this sad time. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

  42. Dick and Deb Tomlinson says:

    what a wonderful teacher and friend .He was great servant of his Lord and Savior…preparing and serving summer lunches for kids of community . maintaining flowers at church courtyard.. touching so many young lives as a coach and teacher . gone from the room but never forgotten for all he meant to so many

  43. Jason Schrock says:

    What can one say about Coach Z that hasn’t been said, not to mention much more eloquently than I will do.

    As a non-runner and one who used CC & Track to hold weight down for wrestling Coach Z was open arms. He spent as much if not more time with me as he did with the kids that were leading the way.

    I remember prior to a meet we were warming up and running up a slight climb when I had to let some spit go and I did, not looking behind me, there was Coach Z!! I felt horrible and he wiped it off and kept running like nothing happened.

    If I could touch the lives of only 2% that this man did my life would have been a success.

    God bless Coach!!!

  44. Janet Kemper says:

    Chris and your entire family. Know that I am thinking of your in grief. So sorry for your loss. Sounds like he was a wonderful man! May he rest in peace, and may God comfort you in your sadness.

  45. Linda Chatlain says:

    Linda & family:

    My deepest sympathy to you all in this emotional time. May God wrap his loving arms around you and give you peace.

    Linda (Reidenbach) Chatlain

  46. Randy and Beth Terman says:

    Our sympathy to Linda and family for the loss of Terry. He was a very special man who touched so many young lives. He will be missed forever by so many. Shelby lost a good man and heaven gained one of the best. How fitting to hold his funeral at the track. We will be there to pay our respects to a great man.

  47. Todd Martin says:

    I am so sad, and reflective. I am presently in New Zealand, quite a way from Shelby! Coach Z helped make me who I am. Because of his wisdom and guidance, athletics became an important part of my life, and continues to. It taught me discipline and perseverance. It taught me to set a goal, and do the steps/preparation needed to accomplish that goal.

    I remember some of those special moments, and have a picture of Chris and I laying under his black pickup truck during one rainy day at a home track meet.

    I so wish I could be there for the funeral. I will be reflective during my next run. He is so missed!!!

  48. Kim & June Heuberger says:

    Linda, We are so very sorry for your loss. God must have needed a Great life coach on his team, because he got the best in Terry. He will definitely be missed.

  49. Rob Slone says:

    Coach Zuercher was one of the main reasons I became a teacher and a coach. He hounded me every year to run cross country and track but I only gave in for 1 season (senior year). He did however, teach me to do what I love and supported my decision every year I chose to work out for hoops and play baseball instead of running! He was one of the most “real” people I’ve ever met. He touched so many people that he probably never knew he had left an imprint on. He will be missed

  50. Denny & Diana Frazier says:

    Dear Linda, Chris, Michael and families,
    Our hearts are sad for you all with the loss of Terry, and wish we could hug you. We pray for God’s comfort and peace for you. Our thoughts are with you.

  51. Winnie Huprich says:

    A cousin I never knew…the obituary is beautiful! His Grandma Cora and my Grandma Vanna were sisters. Sending love and sympathy to his family. From Winnie Miller Huprich

  52. Patrick McFadden says:

    My deepest sympathy to your whole family. One of my memories is of the 1991 CC team (I think it was that year). Coach was having trouble finding his favorite totally worn out running shoes. The reason was that Linda had given them to the team who had them bronzed. The team presented them to him at the year end awards banquet. A prime example of how his teams felt about him.

  53. Roger and Robyn Pokraka says:

    Prayers are with the Zuercher and Long family today. We pray for peace and comfort for you in the coming days.

  54. Heather Smith Swartz says:

    Mr. Zuercher’s laugh and spirit were infectious, and it will be something I will treasure forever. My condolences

  55. Msrilyn Lang Young says:

    Linda I am so very sorry for the loss of your husband. Sounds like such a wonderful man. I will keep you and all of your loved ones in my prayers.

  56. Barb and Bob Knoll says:

    To the family of Coach Z: We knew Coach as a friendly opponent while Bob coached at New London and Norwalk. Coach Z’s influence on his athletes was apparent. We always knew that any time we encountered the Shelby teams, we would notice commitment and dedication. What a legacy to leave! And so many lives influenced.
    Our sympathy and prayers to the family and to the Shelby running community.

  57. Suzy Wilson says:

    Linda, I am so sorry to hear of Terry’s passing. What a wonderful man you were married to and what a lovely tribute to him from your Shelby friends. We lost touch after high school, but I think about my old friends often. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  58. Mitch Cyrus says:

    One of the best teachers I ever had, Terry was also a great mentor to me. He gave me encouragement through junior high while I was still a growing-too-fast awkward teenager, and was always there for advice as my de-facto track coach long before he became the actual varsity coach. A wonderful person, the type that you rarely find. My condolences to his family.

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