Terry Michael Kupovits, 73, died on Monday July 27, 2020, at his home in Ellsworth, Michigan, surrounded by his family.
He was born on February 21, 1947, in Wyandotte, Michigan, the son of Joseph and Julia (Raupp) Kupovits. He was one of seven children. He often described his childhood as incredibly special. He was raised in a hard-working middle-class home.
Terry graduated from St. Frances Cabrini High School in Allen Park, received his BS from Northern Michigan University in Marquette and received his master’s degree at University of Southern California. While attending Northern Michigan University he was lucky enough to meet the love of his life, Carol Gillespie. He would tell the story of how they met based on a bet, and every time his eyes would light up and the smile would grow. They were truly meant to be, those who have met them describe their relationship as exceptional and one to idolize. They married on June 8, 1973, at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church in Allen Park, Michigan.
Terry started his long military service in 1966 in Vietnam with the United States Army. He held the rank of Chief Warrant Officer as a Dust-Off pilot (Medevac). During his tour he survived being shot down three times and managed to fly over 800 rescue missions and flew out over 3,000 casualties. Associated awards in his tours included, Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Valor and Oak Leaf Clusters, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and several others. He was a true hero.
Due to his devotion to his country after he graduated college Terry later joined the United States Navy and continued his love of flying for the following 25 years. He was able to fly most of his career, here are just a few of his many duty stations across the country; he was at VR-24 which was responsible for Vertical Onboard Delivery to the fleet as well as, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC-4) where they supported troops in Beirut, Lebanon. Terry was an acceptance test pilot for the Marine Corp CH53E Super Stallion at Sikorsky Aircraft, where he was the Commanding Officer, his most rewarding duty station. His last two tours were in Washington D.C. where he served as the Deputy Program Manager for the SH60B Seahawk and the integration of the Hellfire missile system on that aircraft. His last tour in D.C. was as Director of the Naval Air Systems Command Liaison Office. Due to his work ethic and passion for flying he was able to retire as a Navy Captain.
Terry and Carol moved to Ellsworth 18 years ago. He was a very active member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in East Jordan. His favorite thing was being around family and friends and found true joy in the little things. A cup of coffee on the water in the morning was one of his many pleasures. Terry was incredibly involved with his children and never missed a sports game, event, or family gathering down to the nightly family dinner. He would often gather his entire extended family together for large “fish fries.” Terry was known as a generous man who found time to help anyone in need. He enjoyed volunteering in his community, he really felt service was the best way to show appreciation. He never missed an opportunity to see his children and spend time with his wife. He enjoyed tinkering with cars, touring on his motorcycle, fishing, boating, hunting, skiing, golfing, and travel. If you knew Terry, you loved him.
He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Carol Kupovits of Ellsworth; three children, Robert Kupovits of Ellsworth, Beth (Jerry) Page of Nolensville, Tennessee and Sarah (Ryan) Kupovits of Jacksonville, Florida; two grandchildren, Emma Page and Beau Page; three brothers, Robert Kupovits of Allen Park, twin, Kerry “Tom” (Michele) Kupovits of Ellsworth and Charles “Chuck” (Ruth) Kupovits of Allen Park; two sisters, Pamela (Steve) Lemke of Beavercreek, Ohio and Candice Faulkner of Marquette; one sister-in-law, Denise (Jim) Gonzales of Brownstone; as well as several nieces, nephews and cousins. Terry was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph and Julia Kupovits; brother, Joe Kupovits; and sister-in-law, Karen Kupovits.
Due to Covid-19, a memorial mass will be held at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be directed to American Cancer Society and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The family was served by the Penzien Funeral Homes, Inc. in East Jordan.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Terry Michael Kupovits, please visit our floral store.