BOARDMAN - Christine Esther Terlesky, passionate advocate and beloved mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, coach, teacher, and friend, died in her home surrounded by her loving family on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, at the age of 48, after a long, courageous, and public battle with ALS.
Christine was born Sept. 18, 1972, in Youngstown, a daughter of Ronald and Judy Moschella, and lived her life in this area. She attended St. Dominic School and graduated with honors from Boardman High School in 1991.
Christine grew up immersed in sports and was a tremendous athlete. She played softball throughout her childhood and in high school, and was a fantastic infielder. In two years on the Boardman varsity, she only committed one error as the shortstop. She also played basketball all through high school, and became one of the highest scorers in Boardman hoops history. Although a mere 5'1" tall, she was ranked as the No. 2 point guard in the State of Ohio, and was named first team All-Northeastern Ohio, first team All-State, and was eventually inducted into the Boardman High School Hall of Fame. Christine received a full scholarship to play Division I basketball at the University of Akron, and then played at Youngstown State University.
While attending YSU, Christine met Brian Terlesky, a tight end on the football team, and the couple began a wonderful relationship that would last for the next 27 years. They married June 21, 1997, and later grew their family by welcoming three beautiful children into their lives.
Christine's outstanding talent was her ability to teach, and her passion for people and for history led her into the teaching profession. After graduating from YSU, she became a history teacher at her alma mater, Boardman High School, where she taught for 19 years. Even though she later attended Westminster College in Pennsylvania to earn a Masters of Education in Administration, her true desire and calling was to remain a teacher in the classroom, which she did.
She was passionate about coaching as well as teaching, and she coached girl’s golf for six years at Boardman. Her background in basketball also allowed her to become a girl's basketball coach at the high school, where she coached for 16 years. She was a tough, knowledgeable coach, and her love of coaching poured from her heart and into the many lessons she delivered to her players. She, alongside her father and husband, helped to build the basketball dynasty that the Boardman girl’s program became in the 1990s and early 2000s. As an assistant varsity coach, she helped lead through her personal knowledge of the game and her ability to relate to and motivate her young players, which made her an invaluable presence on the bench.
Her sustained enthusiasm for her students was remarkable. She shared her passion for government and history with her students as well as teaching them valuable life lessons. The year Christine was diagnosed her students voted her to be the teacher-of-the-year. Christine delivered a moving speech to them, sharing that she was not defined by her disease. She further explained that in life everyone will have obstacles to overcome, but this disease could never take her heart or her soul.
She used her public battle, her voice, and her passion for those in underdog situations as a platform to educate others about ALS. After being diagnosed, she traveled to Washington DC to fight for funding and research. Despite the treatment she received from some politicians, in her feisty nature she called out those representatives who completely ignored their constituents. Named an advocate for the ALS Association of Northeastern Ohio, she was welcomed for her indomitable spirit and articulate voice. Even in her passing, she continued her fight for others by donating her brain, spinal cord, and tissue for medical research to help find more answers about ALS.
Christine was always excited by life and she appreciated experiences with friends and family. She loved eating at fabulous local restaurants, having spaghetti on a Sunday at her parents’ home, and golfing with her husband and son. Christine loved sharing her favorite things with her children, like vacationing many times to her favorite place, Disney World, and sharing her competitive spirit through sports.
Among her great joys was watching her children compete in sports and supporting them in their lives, and she remained her children's biggest fan and source of encouragement even as she battled her illness. She and her family attended many of son Brian's golf tournaments, traveling to West Palm Beach, Fla. and Pinehurst, N.C., where many great family memories were made. She attended as many of son Tyler's football games as she could, and she was so very proud of how he grew and worked hard to improve. She attended many of daughter Emma’s swim meets, even as Christine struggled with advancing debilitating symptoms. No matter how she felt physically, her pride as she watched her children always beamed through her radiant smile.
Christine loved to laugh. She was also an incredibly intelligent person, a political junkie, and was an avid reader who was reading a book per day when she became immobilized by her illness. And true to her nature, lovingly placed the needs of everyone in her family above her own.
Christine loved her family deeply and is survived by her parents, Ronald and Judy Moschella of Boardman; her loving husband, Brian Terlesky; the couples’ three beautiful children, Brian (21), Tyler (16), and Emma (12); two younger sisters, Nadine (Nick) Colla and Jolene (Donald) Ross, with whom she savored constant love and laughter whenever they were together; her loving in-laws, Mary Lou and Ted Terlesky; and nieces and nephews that she adored, Jenna and Jimmy Vivo, Lia and Nicholas Colla, and Tessa, Gianna, and Lena Ross.
Christine was preceded in death by sister-in-law, Michelle Terlesky.
Christine was given great care during her long battle. Her in-laws lovingly cared for Christine as their own daughter, and were with her each day as her illness progressed. Her mother, Judy, was always by her side, and her husband, Brian, cared for her devotedly and unselfishly. Her wonderful caregivers, Annette, Erin, Cierra, Mackenzie, Torri, Terry, and Dawn, along with her amazing physician, Dr. Nino Rubino, helped, supported, and cared for Christine with love and kindness on her journey.
Christine never stopped teaching and impacting others through her social media posts and news interviews, and was always willing to give people an insight into what living with ALS was like. Christine's message to be kind and to build loving relationships with others, resonated through her teaching and her thoughtful posts. In turn, she truly learned how much she was loved and adored. The many donations, well-wishes, and the overwhelming support from the community in which she was raised, and taught in, touched her heart and the hearts of her family tremendously.
The world was a better place with Christine in it. Every sport she played, every class she took, every game she coached, every class she taught, she put her heart and soul into. ALS took Christine from the world, but it could not take her from the hearts of those who loved her.
Due to the current pandemic, there will be no calling hours. A private Memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Charles of Borromeo Church in Boardman, with the Rev Philip Rogers officiating.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Kinnick Funeral Home in Youngstown.
Christine’s family requests that anyone wishing to make a memorial contribution, please do so to support her children’s education. Contributions may be sent to Brian Terlesky, 535 Gardenridge Ct., Boardman, OH 44512.
Christine’s entire family acknowledges Denise DeBartolo York, Jim Tressel, Ed Muransky, Chris Sammartino, Congressman Tim Ryan, Doug Sweeney, Bob Stackhouse, Denise Gorski, Gregg Rossi, Dr. Nino Rubino, Brad Calhoun, Ed Rivalsky, the Kinnick family, Steve and Teresa Cocca, Rob and Jill Mullally, The Piggyback Foundation, and the ALS Association Northern Ohio Chapter, for their love and support.
To send flowers to Christine's family, please visit our floral store.
Terlesky Children Education fund (In Memory of Christine Terlesky)
Brian Terlesky, 535 Gardenridge Ct., Boardman OH 44512