Theresa Rose Eschenbach Roller Dederer, age 72, passed away peacefully on May 23, 2022, at 12:46 P.M. at Memorial Hospital in Springfield, IL, surrounded by many family members. She was born July 5, 1949, in East Chicago, IN, to Robert Leo Eschenbach and Virgina Schuchman Eschenbach.
Teri grew up in Munster, IN, went to St Thomas More and Munster High School, and attended Indiana University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English.
Music was an integral part of Teri’s life and she played piano and flute from a very early age. She taught herself oboe and clarinet and gave private music lessons. She was always 1st chair in the band, the accompanist for every choir from middle school on, and the organist at St Thomas More, Gloria Dei and numerous churches throughout her lifetime. No family event was complete without Teri playing piano and everyone gathered around.
She was a gifted costumer for her children’s many choirs and musicals, and there was nothing that Teri wasn’t willing to tackle.
She taught 5th grade in Grand Forks, ND, in 1971. After leaving Grand Forks, she began her career working with the State of Illinois, Department of Human Services (DHS), Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), within the Division of Disability Determination Services (DDS) in 1973. During her 37-year career, she worked in various divisions within DRS. In 1988, after some important federal legislation passed, Teri wrote a technology grant that would empower individuals with disabilities to have more choices to allow for greater independence. Illinois was one of a handful of states that were funded, and the Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP) was created. IATP was the proudest achievement of her career. She held many positions during her tenure with the state, including Bureau Chief for the Home Services Program. Teri retired from DHS/DRS in the spring of 2008 and continued working contractually for the same agency until 2018. One of the many things that could be said about Teri is that her work ethic was like no other, and she was very good at her job.
Teri was affectionately known as TT. One night the family was all packed into the van, and it was very loud. When trying to get her attention from the back seat, Beccah yelled, “Theresa Rose Mary.” To which Teri responded, “Did you call me Tree Trunk Mary?” After uproarious laughter, she was forever nicknamed “Tree Trunk Mary,” which was later shortened to TT.
Teri loved animals, especially cats and dogs. In her home, there was no shortage of animals that you could snuggle up with. The neighborhood animals always seemed to find her, and she would happily sit, love on them, and even feed them. Some of those animals adopted her, and she took them in gladly.
The beauty of nature always touched Teri’s heart, and she couldn’t help but point out birds, trees, mountains/hills, and waterways to her family everywhere they traveled. The kids, of course, didn’t appreciate the beauty around them and would jokingly say, “Look TT, there’s water.” As they’ve gotten older, not only do they now understand TT’s appreciation of nature, but they in turn have become just like her, pointing out nature to their own children and friends.
One of the things that brought her the greatest joy was having her family all come together, whether it was for birthdays, holidays, or just because. We would gather around the table telling stories, jokes, the tales of life, and more. The house would be filled with laughter, which sometimes turned into crying, because we would be laughing so hard. When it wasn’t filled with laughter, it was filled with singing. Teri was an excellent pianist. The family would gather around the piano, especially around Christmas time, to sing (even in 4-part harmony).
She is survived by: her wife, Wilhelmina Gunther, and their children, Rebeccah Catherine Roller Rich (Daren); Erika Elise Roller Raymond (Christopher); Robert Max Michael Roller (Meghan); Jacqueline Rose and Halley Rose Gunther; and by her sister, Elisabeth Andrea Eschenbach Cosby (Terry); and their children Colleen Erin Cosby Abston (companion Rodney Jenson) and Cary Andrew Cosby; and by her grandkids: Mackenzie Elise and Landon Joseph Raymond; Jordan Elizabeth and Alexa Madison Roller; Daren Christopher Rich II; and six great nieces and a nephew: Victoria Elisabeth and Taylor Erin Abston; Gianna Faustina, Gracie Jaye, Sebastian Santino and Charlotte Olivia Cosby. She is also survived by: her sister-in-law, MaryEffie Gunther and her daughter, Abigail Rose Gunther, brother-in-law, John Joseph Gunther (Patricia) and their children, Megan Patricia Wentzel (Michael), Madeleine Mary O’Gara (Adam), and John Joseph Gunther IV.
The visitation will be held at Staab Funeral Home located at 1109 S 5th St, Springfield, IL 62703, on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, you may donate to Teri’s passion project: The Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP) at 1020 S. Spring, Springfield, IL 62704.
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Date: Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Time: 04:00 pm - 06:00 pm
In lieu of flowers, you may donate to Teri’s passion project: The Illinois Assistive Technology Program (IATP) at 1020 S. Spring, Springfield, IL 62704.
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