Terry Kurtz, known by many as Katar Khalsa, passed at home with her daughter and surrounded by beloved pets on Monday, December 13th, following a nearly four-year battle with cancer. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Leo and Bernadine Kurtz, Terry is survived by her daughter, Sat Jiwan Kaur Khalsa, daughter-in-law, Ingrid Lincoln, her younger brother, Robert Kurtz, and older sister, Marilyn Faszold. She is preceded in death by her son, Hari Nam Singh Khalsa, and the father of her children, Sarab Nam Singh Khalsa. She was a beloved mother, friend, and mentor to many.
A vocal feminist from a young age, Terry is remembered by many to have protested her high school dress code that required young women to wear skirts and tights in the winter by wearing pants and painting an explanation on the back of her school jacket. She maintained her rebellious streak and search for equality throughout her life, standing up for causes she believed in and advocating for victims of injustice of all forms. Prior to completing her Master of Counseling Psychology in 2001, Terry worked to create the first website to confront the Yogi Bhajan cult in the late 1990’s and started the original e-group for cult survivors. Through her straight-shooting truthful manner, she successfully assisted many individuals in removing themselves from cult programming. It was through Terry’s first anti-cult group that an entire network of anti-cult activists has come together to expose the truth of the Yogi Bhajan Empire, and she was very proud to know her work would soon reach a more mainstream audience prior to her passing.
Following her own exit from an organization she later recognized as a cult, Terry became very passionate about physical fitness as well as mental health, going on to become a competitive bodybuilder and long-time fitness instructor. Through this work Terry aimed specifically to educate and prepare those diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, which she had also been diagnosed with. Terry was an avid cyclist, gymnast, and educator. While living in Arizona later in her life, Terry became very passionate about medical marijuana and was very enthusiastic about and always willing to share her home grow.
A crusader from childhood, Terry will always be known for her compassion for others, sharp wit, and endless examples of bravery in the face of adversity. Her family asks that Terry be remembered, and her life celebrated, through kindness, standing up for the underdog, and keeping up the good fight to make the world a kinder place.
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