Teresa Jane McGovern, whose tormented adult life ended in a Wisconsin snowdrift, came home Saturday to the city where she grew up as the daughter of a U.S. senator who ran for president with her at his side.
"There is no glossing over the pain here," the Rev. J. Philip Wogaman said at her funeral in one of the largest churches in the nation's capital five days after her body was found in a Madison alley. Official cause of the 45-year-old woman's death was hypothermia in a state of acute intoxification.Her father, former Sen. George McGovern, D-S.D., who lost to Richard Nixon in the presidential landslide of 1972, and his wife, Eleanor, dabbed at their eyes. The McGoverns remained in Washington after he left the Senate in 1980.
"Those who believe Terry's life had little meaning" should realize that her "deep sensitivity touched the lives of more people than we will ever know," the pastor continued. He said some details are just emerging.
Three of those touched spoke at the service in Washington's Foundry United Methodist church attended by about 200 people.
"Terry is the person who saved my life," said a fellow Alcoholics Anonymous member, Donald Berlin of Chicago. "She reached out to me so that I could be here today. . . . The tragedy is those who have to die to keep the rest of us sober," Berlin said, recalling that, encouraged by Teresa McGovern, he finally gave up drinking in 1988.
"Terry, who wasn't able to help herself, helped others," said Washington Post columnist Hobart Rowen. "Like Mr. Berlin, I received a gift from Terry," he said, recalling her encouragement in his own struggle against cancer.