Faces in the Crowd

February 24, 2020

Terry and Laurie Kischnick at the Detroit Free Press half marathon.
The Kischnick grandkids and daughter Riley at Christmas.
Terry and Laurie Kischnick with youngest daughter Riley.
Terry coached the middle school girls track team to a conference championship in 2019.
Terry and Laurie with Jason Keeler at the North Country Trail half marathon.

“Yay, snow!”

While we can’t be certain, we’re guessing that’s what Marion resident Laurie Kischnick was saying to her husband, Terry, over the weekend.

While many of us were dreadfully watching six inches of that fluffy white stuff pile up in our driveways, chances are Laurie was busting out her cross-country skis for another winter adventure.

Out-and-about. That’s the name of the game for the Kischnick family. Whether winter, spring, summer or fall, the Kischnick’s enjoy being out-and-about. Sometimes this means cross-country skiing, hunting or fishing. Other times they may be camping at Michigan International Motor Speedway. Quite often you’ll find them running 5k and half-marathons, or at sporting events coaching or watching their daughter and granddaughters compete. They love being out-and-about.

Perhaps part of the reason they enjoy getting out so much, is because they spend quite a lot of time at home, working for DXC Technologies. Terry works as a program and project manager, and Laurie as a leveraged service manager. In other words, they’re “techies”.

Laurie, an ’81 Marion grad, went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from Northwood University, while Terry, an ’89 Reese grad, earned his from Saginaw Valley State University. The couple met while working in IT at Dow Chemical, married, and built their home on 19 Mile Road in Marion in 2002.

We caught up with the Kischnick’s recently, and we learned what they’re all about. We learned that Terry and Laurie are certainly more than just a couple of faces in the crowd.

MP: Where were you born and raised?
Laurie: I grew up around here. My grandparents had a farm just two miles down the road, on the corner of 17 mile and 20th Ave. The Allen farm out by Twin Bridges.

MP: So you graduated from Marion? What kept you busy?
Laurie: I graduated from Marion. I did all the bad things growing up! I was the rebel child growing up. Back in those days, you’d play softball at Nowland’s or Ashby’s – that was the thing that everybody would do. These big ol’ softball games, volleyball games, cards – kids roamed free at that point. Everybody went swimming at twin bridges – those were the kinds of things we did, growing up. We were always busy with something like that. I grew up in a family of six: Chuck, Sandy (Quist), Jean (Coveart), Ed, and Scott.

MP: What were things like in Marion in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s?
Laurie: There was a definite divide – those who have, and the have-not’s. Mr. Cutler was the principal – he was the best principal ever – Danyel [Prielipp]’s the only one who comes close. Back then, the gyms were packed, the football games were packed, people cared about going to the events. And I think it’s coming back with Danyel.

MP: And where are you from, Terry? What kept you busy?
Terry: I grew up in Reece, originally – it’s between Frankenmuth and Caro, about 15 miles east of Saginaw. Baseball was kind of my go to sport. I played basketball a little bit. But I was more of a baseball guy. The Tigers were a good team back in the ‘80s. I played in the high school band; we had a marching band.
Laurie: He gets his coronet out every once in a while.
Terry: I played coronet in high school.

MP: Do either of you sing?
Laurie: No, no, no. You don’t want him on a dance floor either!
MP: What brought you to Marion?
Laurie: Me!

MP: Good answer!
Terry: After college, we went and worked at Dow Chemical. I probably worked there for 5 or 6 years after college, and we met sometime in that time frame, and I moved up this way.
Laurie: It was one of those… “You have to move to Marion because I’m not moving to Midland.”

MP: Tell us about your family.
Laurie: We have four kids. Stephanie, and she has her kids Jennifer and Elizabeth. Ashley, and she has a little man, Carter, he’s two. Tim, he has three kids – Dane, Dysen, and Dallis. And Riley Jo. We call her Jo. She’s a senior this year.

MP: So you’re going to be empty-nesters pretty soon…
Laurie: I have not had an empty house in over 40 years. I don’t know that I’m going to be okay. It kind of scares me.
Terry: That’s why we’ve got the dog, Macchi.

MP: One more graduation, and you’ll have the house all to yourselves.
Terry: Riley’s talking about going to Michigan State next year. She’s doing basketball right now, cheer right now. We do softball about three days a week.

Laurie: That’s what the child does – now you see why I’ll be bored when she leaves home.

Terry: Last year we did more travel ball. We went to Traverse City for a pitching camp, and we’d do a two-hour stint in Kingsley every Sunday. This year, she’s working with a hitting coach on Sundays, and she throws on Tuesdays and Thursday with Ryan [Raymond] and I, and a couple of the girls.

MP: Marion Softball has been pretty darn good. Back to back district champs…

Laurie: So far, fingers crossed that this is the year for winning regionals.
Terry: We’ve got a good team again this year. A lot of returning players, and a couple strong freshman coming up as well. It’s going to be a good group of girls.

MP: And you help out during track and cross county seasons as well.
Laurie: We like to help Jason [Keeler] with cross country in the fall. We both dabble in the running, occasionally. We tend to do some 5k’s and half-marathons.

MP: And Terry, you coach middle school girls track. How’s that going?
Terry: It’s good. I’ve done it the last two years. I enjoy it. I enjoy that age group. I enjoy seeing all the girls, everywhere you go, it’s “Hey, coach!” I enjoy it, it’s stress relief to kind of get out, and run with them a little bit, coach them a little bit. We had anywhere from 18 to 22 girls come out for track last year. Elizabeth was on the team last year, and Jennifer will be on the team this year.
Laurie: Jennifer told him that he had to coach until she wasn’t in junior high anymore.

MP: Is that the deal?
Terry: I told her that she had to run, and she told me no!

MP: What else keeps you busy?
Terry: It’s usually either the softball field or the gym. We like to get out camping during the summertime.
Laurie: I’m one of those who prays for snow! I like to cross-country ski.

MP: I was just thinking that I’m over winter…
Laurie: And I see the snow come down, and I’m like, “Yes!”

MP: Well good for you!
Laurie: I haven’t been able to get out as much this year, but I like to get out and cross country ski. Well you can’t run in the wintertime here, so you’re stuck on the treadmill. It’s fun; I like to go out in the field, I like to go down the road. Occasionally I’ll go up to Cadillac Pathways – they have a nice groomed trail up there.
I like it. It’s fun. You can go as slow or as fast as you want. When Riley goes with us, you have to stop and take your skis off, and make snow angels, or build a snowman. Terry likes to peddle bike in the summertime.
Terry: As you get older the bike is much easier on the joints.

MP: And you two run the Marion Old Fashioned Days 5k, right?
Terry: I’ve taken over the last couple of years. I farm out the administrative work to Riley and Laurie – they kind of help me with the flyers and getting the sponsorship letters out.

MP: What do you enjoy the most about this community? Terry, what were you’re first impressions?
Terry: Small town. Small town community. It was similar to where I grew up; where everybody knew everybody. Everybody talked to everybody. It wasn’t like you had one clique here and one clique there, it was like everybody was here for one goal, one mission to get along. When I first came up here, Tim was playing football, and it was fun to go to those games.

MP: It’s a cool place.
Terry: It is. It’s more removed from the fast pace. You don’t have to worry about traffic jams. I went to Dallas last week, and me and big cities don’t get along.
Our biggest traffic jam here is at the coffee pot in the morning.
Laurie: If you wanna test a relationship, be together 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When he says, “Honey, I’m going to deer camp.” I’m like, “Would you like me to pack your clothes for you?!”
That’s probably a huge reason why we’re so involved and active – it’s because we have to get out of here occasionally. You have to have a reason to get out.

MP: Laurie, what has kept you here, in this community?
Laurie: I didn’t want to raise kids in a big city. The educational opportunities may not be here, but the safety is. You know who your kids are associating with; you know where they’re going, and you know it’s a safe place.

MP: And you know that the rest of the community is watching out for your kids too.
Laurie: Even knowing the sheriff’s department. When I rolled my car down here, Deputy Start came out, and of course he’s laughing at me – “Laurie, what’d you do!?” But it was a friendly face who was there to help you when the time came. And that’s what small communities are all about. If your house burned down, and you lost everything, the community would come together and help you. The chances of that happening in a bigger city… nine times out of ten you wouldn’t even talk to your neighbors.
Terry: The weird part is she would tell me, “You really don’t have to lock your door.” I’m like, “Yeah, okay.”
Laurie: He still does.
Terry: I still do. She still tells me, “You really don’t have to do that.”

MP: Who have been some of your role models over the years? Any advice that stands out?
Terry: Appreciate what you have. Don’t always look toward getting more, or trying to get ahead. Appreciate what you have.
My biggest role model would be my dad, Arnie. He was a good role model growing up. He was a hard-working guy; he really believed that hard work got you ahead in life. He worked on the farm for a long time, and the opportunity came up to work at GM, and he said I’m taking it, and I’m not looking back. He just believed in hard work. He was a good guy. We used to go hunting and fishing quite a bit.
Laurie: Grandpa [Eddie] Allen, Mr. Cutler, Mr. Partica, and Danyel – even though she’s a lot younger than I am – I still look up to that woman.
And the reason for all those folks: They don’t care who you are. They never cared where you came from. They only wanted what is best for you. All they wanted is what was best for you, and they wanted you to be the best person you could be. If it wasn’t for Mr. Cutler or Mr. Partica, I’d probably be the person on welfare. They had a huge influence on my life. I probably would’ve never graduated high school without them.

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