PETERBOROUGH - Robert D. Terry, 91, died peacefully at home, on Dec. 24, 2012, surrounded by his loving family.
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He was born in Seattle on July 31, 1921, the son of Donald R. Terry and Faith Colquhoun Terry. After moving around the country as a child, he lived and attended high school in Chatham, N.J., where he met and later married his beloved wife, Lorraine.
Following high school graduation in 1941, he was to attend the University of Washington, but the war intervened and he enlisted in the Army Air Corps Flight Training Program. He graduated from Advanced Flying School in 1943, and during World War II, he was sent to the China/Burma/India theater. His mission was transporting gasoline over the Himalayas, or "Flying the Hump" as it was called. After returning to the U.S., he was based on Cape Cod, Mass., and flew submarine patrols off the coast of New England.
When the war was over, he followed in his father's footsteps and flew for TWA, before joining Eastern Airlines in 1947. At his retirement, as a captain, after 34 years, he had logged more hours in the DC-9 than any other pilot at that time. Former astronaut Frank Borman, then president of Eastern Airlines, called him the "Dean of the DC-9." He also received special recognition from McDonnell/Douglas for this achievement. He logged many hours in the DC-3 during his time with Eastern, and the actual plane he flew now hangs in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Throughout his career, he flew more than 50 different types of aircraft. He continued flying privately after retirement by getting his sea plane license and enjoyed taking his grandchildren for rides.
He never left his military roots behind and continued with the Air National Guard at Floyd Bennett Field in New York, where he flew the C-119, F-86, B-26 and the C-97. His unit was called up during the Korean War, and he spent two years at March Air Force Base in Riverside, Calif., flying B-29s. Later returning to New York, he stayed with the Guard, served as chief operations officer and retired as a full colonel with more than 24 years of service.
Coming from Huntington, N.Y., to New England in the late '60s fulfilled a dream, and he settled briefly in Exeter before moving to nearby Epping. In 1984, he moved to Francestown, where he enjoyed his retirement and the beauty of country living in a small rural town.
He was a devoted family man who spent endless hours teaching his children and grandchildren the many skills he had acquired over the years. He loved working with his hands and was talented at woodworking, large and small building projects and every outdoor activity imaginable, which he continued pursuing into his 90s. He and his wife loved to travel the East Coast in their motor home and spend summers at their seaside cottage in Maine.
Robert is survived by his wife of 70 years, Lorraine of Peterborough; his son, Robert S. Terry and his wife, Christine, of Beverly, Mass.; his daughter, Kathy McLaughlin and her husband, Frank, of Peterborough. He is also survived by his two sisters, Ann Costagliola of Sea Cliff, N.Y., and F. Deborah Shaver and her husband, Donald, of Strafford. He will also be missed by his four grandchildren: Stephen M. Terry and his wife, Coco, of Beijing, China, Christopher D. Terry and his wife, Olivia, also of Beijing, China, Allison M. McLaughlin and her husband, Richard Servidio, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and Todd J. McLaughlin and his wife, Nelina, of Medford, Mass. He was further blessed with two great-grandchildren, Robert J. Servidio and Dylan F. Terry.
Private services were held for the family, which included full military honors. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made in Robert's memory to HCS Home Healthcare, Hospice & Community Services, P.O. Box 496, Peterborough 03458.
Stockbridge Funeral Home - Exeter
141 Epping Road
Exeter, NH 03833
Published in Union Leader on Jan. 3, 2013