She Had a Nice Smile

Richard Medugno
8 min readJul 29, 2023
Terry Lenkner in 1987 wearing a pink dress and smiling in front of a red brick building in Toronto.
Terry Lenkner in 1987

A Eulogy for My Mom

Thank you for being here today. (July 16, 2023)

Richard Medugno stands behind a podium speaking while a woman in a black dress stands next to him interpreting his eulogy in ASL.
The author with an ASL interpreter at Terry Lenkner’s Celebration of Life memorial service.

Theresa Lenkner was Terry to her many friends and almost everyone in her family. She was mom to me. I’m Richard Medugno. The second of her six children.

Mom was 86 years old when she passed away last month. She had me when she was 22, so if you do the math, I was blessed and fortunate to have her for 64 years! That’s a long time…and I have stories.

It’s difficult, if not impossible to summarize a life of almost 90 years into a 10-minute eulogy — so I’m not going to try. But I want to share a few great memories that I hope will give everyone here a more complete picture of the woman we’re celebrating today.

Irish-Catholic Family in Boston
Terry was born and raised in Somerville, Mass. (a suburb of Boston). Her parents Michael Welby and Margaret Conneally were Irish immigrants from Connemara, County Galway. Mom had two twin sisters, Mary and Margaret (Peggy), who were 3 years older, and a younger sister, Dorothy, who was four years younger.

In this Irish-Catholic family, my mother stood out because she was a redhead with freckles. Some relatives said she had “the map of Ireland” on her face. Family lore is that because my mom was so cute with her beautiful red hair, some woman tried to kidnap her off the street when she was four or five years old.

Attempted Kidnapping
The story goes that she was playing out in front of the house and a woman came by and offered Mom some candy or ice cream if she would go into Boston with her. My mom thought it sounded like a good deal and off they went down Temple Street. Fortunately, my grandfather was coming up Temple Street and confronted the woman. Grandpa said, “Where are you taking her?” The woman said, “She’s my daughter.” And Grandpa said, “Like Hell she is.” He grabbed my mom and the woman ran off.

Left-handed Smoker with No Middle Name
I don’t know much more about my mom’s early years, though I think it might have been pretty boring because she never learned how to catch a…

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Richard Medugno

Richard is an author and scriptwriter. His latest book is Deaf Politician — The Gary Malkowski Story. His latest script is The Mulligan Marriage.