Miranda "Mandy" Rae Gustafson Terry received her Angel Wings on Sunday, August 27th after a courageous 6 year battle with brain cancer. Funeral services will be 1:00 PM Friday, September 1, 2017 at Mitchell Wesleyan Church. Visitation will be 5-7:00 PM Thursday, August 31, at Bittner Funeral Chapel.
Mandy was born on August 23, 1980 at 5:29 am to Tamara Gustafson and Frank Mongold in Milbank, SD. Mandy was a 1998 graduate of Wilmot High School. In high school she loved band and volleyball and working as a summer youth counselor at Lutheran camp. She loved helping people. She was the oldest child and spent a lot of time caring for and about her younger siblings. For 37 years, Mandy was someone that everyone could count on. Her life had many obstacles but she smiled in spite of the hardship and never lost sight of what was truly important.
She always had a positive attitude even when life wasn’t so kind. Her smile was inviting and her laughter was contagious. She was the kind of person you just wanted to be around. Even when she wanted to cry, and she did sometimes, her tears would turn to laughter. Mandy also loved positive expressions and would share them on her facebook page. Although cancer was an ugly beast, she looked forward to being with her team – She often said, she couldn’t get through the tough days without Marci, Jody & Jess by her side when it was hard to hear what was to come next. Mandy battled cancer with grace. Up until her final hours she was talking about her next treatment options. She never wanted to give up. Her body just couldn’t keep up with her fighting spirit.
Her family and her role as a mother were the most important things to her. It was through them that she would find her strength and leave her legacy. Her son Mason was born on August 28, 2001 when Mandy was just 21. She was excited for his arrival from the moment he was a possibility. Mandy was so proud of her young man and frequently bragged about his brilliant writing and his kind heart. In 2008 Mandy married and on December 28, 2009, another son Ty’Sean was born. He was her happy, always smiling, Barney loving baby. Mandy always said he had her smile, he is always concerned about other people and loves all sports. When Mandy was 31 years old and 31 weeks pregnant, she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Brain Cancer. Her daughter Aiyanna was born on October 7, 2011, one day before Mandy would undergo her first brain surgery. Aiyanna was her miracle baby and a fighter just like her mother. She is a bright, bubbly, dancing, singing, curly haired bundle of energy. She was Mandy’s sunshine. She could not have made it through these last years without Deb Carlson so selflessly helping care for her kids. She was Mandy’s Angel on Earth.
Mandy was born to be a mother and she was a great one. She always wanted what was best for her children even when it meant putting her first born daughter Macy up for adoption because she knew she couldn’t give her what she needed at just 15.
Mandy’s love and caring extended beyond her children to her 10 year career at Life Quest. It was never just a job for her; it was her family & support system. She loved her co-workers and the people they supported. They loved her too and she forged relationships and memories that will never be forgotten. In 2016 Mandy was selected for Direct Support Professional for Life quest. She was chosen by the people she supported, her co-workers and families. It was an honor she felt humbled by.
In addition to her children Mason 16, TySean 7, Aiyanna 5, all of Mitchell, SD and Macy Pirlet 21, Sioux Falls, SD, Those grateful to have shared her life are her mother Tammy Minder, Mitchell, SD, Father Frank (Patti) Mongold, Luverne, MN, grandfather John Gustafson, Milbank, SD. Siblings Mitchelle (Nate) Reichling, Watertown SD, Mack Minder, Mitchell, SD, Mallory (Zack) Morey, Sioux Falls, SD, Taylor (Marissa) Mongold, Valley Springs, SD, Mara Mongold, Madisonville, KY. Friends like family Marci (Scott) Pirlet, Sioux Falls, SD, Jody (Brian) Ninneman, Milbank, SD, Jessica (Allen) Eckern, Watertown, SD, Deb Carlson, Mitchell, SD. She will be missed by a host of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and all that knew her and called her friend. Mandy was received into Heaven by her grandmother, Karen Gustafson.