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June 24, 2019

Dr. Terry J. Bergstrom, Died June 23, 2019

Dr. Terry J. Bergstrom
Died June 23, 2019

LAKE LEELANAU - Terry J. Bergstrom, 85, of Lake Leelanau, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family, on Sunday, June 23, 2019.
Terry was born April 15, 1934, in Traverse City to Willard “Bill” and Ruth (Buell) Bergstrom.  On August 26, 1961 at St. Mary’s of Lake Leelanau, he married Anne Plamondon, who survives. 

Born and raised on a farm “Up North” in Michigan, Terry received
his undergraduate degrees from Michigan State University before completing 4 years of military service as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force.  Over the course of his 26-year service with the Air Force, he served as a flight surgeon and completed his residency in Ophthalmology at the University of Michigan.  He served as Chief Ophthalmologist at March Air Force Base in California, and at the USAF Hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany, and as Director of Residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center in Texas.  He was a recipient of the Legion of Merit award when he retired from the military as a Colonel.

In 1980, Terry returned to his alma mater and joined the staff at the Kellogg Eye Center, where he practiced for 24 years and continued to work as an Emeritus Professor until he was no longer physically able.  Terry’s numerous accomplishments include: serving as Chief of Glaucoma Service, Chief of Low Vision Service, and Chief of General Ophthalmology at University of Michigan.  In addition to these responsibilities, he also served as Chief of Ophthalmology at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Ann Arbor.  His many awards, including Lifetime Honorary Faculty Member, being ranked in the top 25 Ophthalmologists in the nation, and the Kaiser-Permanente Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as publications, are too numerous to list.
Terry’s legacy lives on through his passion for teaching.  After receiving the University of Michigan Medical School Teaching Award for 14 years in a row, it was officially renamed by the residents in his honor.  He also has an endowed professorship created in his name.

Terry was known for humbleness and his great sense of humor; if he were writing this obituary, it would be about three sentences and end with a (corny) joke.  In his spare time, Terry enjoyed playing piano, waging battles with the weeds and critters in his lawn and garden, coaching his children and grandchildren’s sports activities, making people laugh, and supporting his favorite sports teams.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 58 years, Anne; children, Tracy (Frank) Pantuso, Martha (Mark) Chapman, David (Janele) Bergstrom, and Elizabeth (Sam) Mills; 10 grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; and his brother, Bill (Barb) Stricker.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Willard “Bill” and Ruth Bergstrom.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 with the Rosary to be prayed at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 28, at the Martinson Funeral Home of Suttons Bay.  The funeral mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 29 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Lake Leelanau, with the family greeting friends at 10 a.m.  Burial in St. Mary’s Cemetery will follow the mass.  Father Bryan Medlin will serve as celebrant.  
In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to St. Mary’s Church and School, P.O. Box 340, Lake Leelanau, MI 49653 and/or the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, Office of Development, 1000 Wall Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 -1986.

Please share condolences and memories with Terry’s family below or on our Facebook page.


  1. While I was a ophthalmology resident at the University of Michigan many years ago, Dr Bergstrom spent many hours transferring not only his knowledge of medicine, but sharing his good humor, his infectious enthusiasm, but most of all his love for his fellow man. He was such a wonderful example to all of us. Bless you, dear soul.
    Richard Liston, MD, Residency Class of 1993

  2. I got to know Terry as the administrator for the American Eye Study Club...he was president in 1991 (before my time) but still an active member for many years with nearly perfect attendance at the annual meeting. One of the highlights of each meeting was Terry's "50 years ago at the AESC" which was always enlightening and instructional. He had a great sense of humor (required for being in the AESC), but more important, he was kind and caring. My mother was a glaucoma patient at Kellogg Eye Center, so I certainly appreciated Terry's leadership there. We will miss you, Terry.
    Rich Paul - AESC executive director

  3. Anonymous2:38 PM

    I never knew a finer human being: so kind, compassionate, humble, and generous in every way. I enjoyed so much my time with him as faculty at Kellogg Eye Center. He was and still is an inspiration to me. His teaching accolades are no surprise, he was very generous with his time and impacted countless many people in such an enormously positive and important way, all with an easy smile and great sense of humor. To be in his presence was special! A life very well lived.
    May the Good Lord bless and keep all his family during this very difficult time,
    Christina Bruno, MD

  4. The news of Dr. Bergstrom’s passing saddens my heart. As I read his obituary aloud to my husband, I laughed and cried. I worked many years with Dr. Bergstrom at the Kellogg Eye Center and still had the blessing of seeing him occasionally after leaving Kellogg. He always had a smile and a hug for me and always asked about my daughter, Beth who worked for him as well.

    My condolences and prayers go out to Dr. Bergstrom’s family. You are all in my prayers. The University of Michigan is a better place because he was there.

    May God keep you all in his arms and grant you peace and comfort for the days to come.

  5. Anonymous7:47 PM

    We remember Terry as Sara and Liz's softball coach in elementary and middle school. He had a huge impact on our girls with his kindness, the twinkle in his eye, and his wonderful sense of humor always in evidence. With that came many years of camaraderie on the sidelines with Anne and the other parents. We thank Terry for setting the tone for friendship, support and humor that have stayed with our girls into womanhood. Thank you. Rosalie and Ron Koenig