Harriet Marie “Teri” Yale

On the evening of February 3rd, 2024, in Mason, Michigan, this world lost the indomitable spirit of Harriet Marie “Teri” (Courter)Yale as she left to join the last wisps of sunset fading from the horizon. She was 63 years old. Due to a lengthy illness, Teri’s earthly life was cut far too short, but she managed to pack a dozen lives in the space of only one and serve as an inspiration to us all.

Teri was born Valentine’s Day, 1960 in Muskegon, Michigan to parents Lawrence and Ruth (Drake) Courter. She was always “Daddy’s Girl” and made sure everyone knew it. Moving between Muskegon and San Jose, CA for many years, she graduated from Oak Grove High School of San Jose in 1978, spending several happy years being a beloved aunt to her nieces and nephews before marrying in 1981 and starting her own family in 1987. An avid archivist, conversationalist and storyteller, she never ran out of tales to tell of various celebrities she’d met during her years in California, sights and shows she’d seen, and the countless friendships she’d formed; however, she would always proudly say her greatest achievement from that time – indeed, in her life – was being a mom.

In the early ‘90s, she moved her family to the Upper Peninsula where she wholeheartedly embraced being a Yooper, including earning her business degree from Northern Michigan University in 1996. Never one to shy away from hard work, she completed her education all the while serving in Americorps, devoting countless hours to local domestic violence prevention organizations, and raising her young children at the same time. She then left the U.P. to begin a long career of excelling in management, banking, finance, and founding multiple small businesses, including the former Davey’s Basement Music & More of Mason, MI.

In 1999, Teri met the love of her life, Kenneth Yale, marrying July 1st, 2000. For nearly 25 years, they were inseparable


through all of life’s hardships and joys alike, raising their blended family of free[1]spirited, creative daughters and quirky cats. Teri’s endless zest for life extended to her interests and hobbies as well; of those, she most loved Southern rock, motorcycles, photography, football, interior decorating, cats, history, thrifting, antiquing, visiting museums, researching family genealogy, and RVing cross-country with Ken as she had with her parents.

Most of all, home and family meant everything to her. Teri is survived by her beloved husband, Ken; daughters Nikki Fritter, Becky (Tom) McKendry, and Briana Yale; siblings Lawrence Courter Jr., Ruth “Sis” (Tom) Kelley, Pat Knight, and Emily Courter; and cousins Denice (Mark) Broda-L’Huillier and Amber Stenberg, among an incredible number of other treasured family and friends who will help keep her memory alive.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers Earl and Stevie Courter; aunt Audrey Rexstrew; and beloved cats Aurora (Trouble), Roxy (Lepsi), and Bebe, all of whom are among countless other loved ones welcoming her warmly to the world beyond this one.

Per Teri’s wishes, there will be no traditional funeral services. However, she always loved when family and friends would gather to share a meal, tell stories, and relive favorite memories, so in that spirit, a celebration of Teri’s life will be held sometime later this year; details TBD, but be sure to wear purple, her favorite color.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in Teri’s memory to the Capital Area Humane Society or to Hospice of Lansing. Barring that, nothing will bring her more joy than having everyone carry on her traditions of rescuing animals, investigating & preserving genealogy for future generations, or hunting for an amazing deal on a Meijer clearance rack. Teri touched the lives of an innumerable amount of people, all of whom know she will continue to be with us in spirit until we all meet again. However, on those days when the light of this world seems to burn too dimly without her lively laugh and determined spark, please hop onto the nearest highway (preferably on a Harley but if a Harley is unavailable, any standard vehicle will do), roll your windows down, and play “Freebird” as loud as you can on repeat. She’ll be around.

Arrangements entrusted to Vickers Leslie Funeral Home, 109 N. Church Street/PO Box 503, Leslie, MI 49251. 517-878-6600.