About Terri Brodeur
The foundation’s name was chosen to honor a remarkable woman named Terri Brodeur. Terri Brodeur was born in New London, Connecticut at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital on April 14, 1964.
Terri was the second child of six born to Anthony (Tony) and Frances (Fran) Sottile of Waterford Connecticut. In addition to raising six children, Tony and Fran were employed as elementary school teachers in the Mystic school system and active volunteers in a number of community and religious organizations including the Girl Scouts of America and The Knights of Columbus. Tony and Fran taught Terri the most important lessons she would ever learn – among them, honesty, sincerity, respect for others and the importance of giving back. They also instilled a strong work ethic, deep faith and a general love for life, particularly the outdoors. These qualities would define Terri throughout her life.
Her pleasant demeanor and steady work habits made Terri a perennial “teacher’s pet” in grade school right through High School where, in addition to her studies, Terri enjoyed dance and band. She was a shy, quiet girl who wouldn’t smile much (at least not ’til her braces came off). Terri kept a few close friends during her teen years. Ever the optimist, her senior quote in the Waterford High yearbook read, “When all else fails, smile.”
Terri met her soul-mate and future spouse, Tim Brodeur, as a freshman at the University of Connecticut where the two, inseparable most times, ultimately graduated with business degrees in 1986. Jobs in the accounting and insurance industries led Tim and Terri to move to the Hartford area where they also pursued graduate degrees and where their first child, Ashley, was born in June of 1993.
An opportunity for Tim at Pfizer Research and Development Finance in Groton, Connecticut combined with a second child, Melanie, born in April, 1995 led to the decision to re-locate back to the shoreline area in Old Saybrook. Shortly after Melanie’s birth, Terri decided to take a “time-out” from her career to focus on her greatest pride, her family, which a few years later (in March 1998) now included a son, Sean.
Arguably Terri’s most important life-work would take place during the next five years when, in addition to being the best Mom and wife imaginable, Terri was an active volunteer in the elementary school system, local parish and Girl Scouts. Beyond the obvious enthusiasm for her volunteer work, Terri’s impossibly big blue eyes, dazzling smile and open, genuine personality made her a magnet for friends and admirers throughout the community. The most common observation being that, “Terri was truly beautiful – inside and out.”
So it was with great shock and sadness that family and friends received the news that Terri had been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in July of 2003. These emotions were matched only by the confusion: how this could happen to someone so young, so vibrant and so healthy; how this could happen to someone with none of the “normal” health or lifestyle contributing factors; how this could happen to someone with no warning signs or family history of breast cancer. Terri was 39.
Over the next two-plus years Terri waged a battle that, in the end, was defined not by how the cancer impacted her physically but how she triumphed emotionally and spiritually. Terri rarely got down and she never, ever gave up Her hope; Her faith; Her love for family, friends and community.
Terri left a legacy of courage and love that will never be forgotten by those fortunate enough to know her …a beautiful woman inside and out. Smile.