Cover photo for Terry Lee Gano's Obituary
Terry Lee Gano Profile Photo
1947 Terry 2023

Terry Lee Gano

December 5, 1947 — November 6, 2023

Terry Lee Gano of Rockford, Illinois passed away on November 6 at the age of 75, surrounded by those he loved.


Born in Chicago, his parents Betty Kopp and Robert Lee Gano, and brother Dennis later moved to Skokie. As a young man, he protested for issues he supported, served as a roadie for the 60s band, Iron Butterfly, and knew several famous musicians of the time.


Eventually, one of his best friends, Bill Palmer, convinced him to become a history teacher. His passion and creativity inspired many of his students. The bulk of his teaching was at Auburn High School in Rockford, Illinois. He also coached girls’ cross country at Auburn.


After retiring in 2015, Terry continued to commit to causes. He produced videos of local veterans with the help of Nick Stange of Harlem High School. He also was an active member of Eliminate Racism 815.


It would be remiss not to mention Terry’s sense of humor, his ability to relate to others, and his love of the Cubs and Bears. The Cubs’ 2016 World Series win was a shining moment for him.


Terry is survived by his wife Debra Dew, his brother, Dennis (Sandy), and his best friends Bill and Jeanne Palmer, Dean Suffka, and Marc Stein. He also has two stepsons, Patrick and Jeremy Kelley (Sherrie and daughter, Scarlett).


A special thanks to the ICU nurses at OSF Hospital for the empathetic, thorough care they provided for Terry. A Celebration of Life event is in the planning stages. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Terry Lee Gano, please visit our flower store.

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