Terry Kay
1938 - 2020
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Terry Kay, 82, a masterful storyteller and author of the internationally acclaimed novel "To Dance with the White Dog," died Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020.

Kay often told the story of Pat Conroy coercing him into becoming a novelist. The yarn always ended with Kay saying, "For a boy who never wanted to write a book, it's been a splendid adventure."

The author's many admirers could say the same after reading one of his beloved books.

Read more about novelist Terry Kay on ajc.com
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Dec. 13, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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30 entries
January 27, 2021
I am so glad I got to meet Terry Kay and his lovely wife, Tommie, twice. Once at the LaGrange Library and again when he so graciously visited our Round Table Book Club in Manchester, GA. He will always stand out in my mind as Georgia's "Best" author of what it was like to grow up in rural Georgia. Rest In Peace Terry Kay and Love and Blessings to Tommie.
Judith Railey
Friend
December 20, 2020
So sorry to hear of Mr. Kay’s passing. One of my favorite books is Taking Lottie Home. I sent him an email telling him so and he very kindly sent me a beautiful reply. My condolences to his family and friends.
Linda Sullivan
December 17, 2020
Terry was a kind and gentle soul. I loved him. We were friends. I will be among the people who will miss him terribly.
Ruth Carr
Friend
December 17, 2020
Your stories have been a huge part of life. Thank you. Rest in peace my fellow Georgian.
Gina Ramsey
December 17, 2020
My husband and I were so sorry to learn of Terry's death. We first met him at our local Harriette Austin Writer's Conference, and our paths frequently crossed at writing events afterward as well as, occasionally, out in the community. He was a warm and kind man, and will be greatly missed among his writer friends.

Our deepest sympathy,

Judy and Takis Iakovou
Judy Iakovou
Friend
December 17, 2020
I had the pleasure of knowing Terry Kay from Druid Hills United Methodist Church during the early 1970's while he was still with the AJC; I recall when he left to write his first novel; most memorable is when he directed me in a church play, where I was Noah...and, the "voice of God". Mostly, I've enjoyed reading his books over the years. May he RIP and thank you, Terry, for the enjoyment you brought to to many.

David Dodd
David Dodd
Friend
December 16, 2020
Bob just called about Terry. Tommie, I am so sorry to hear about his death. Just want you to know that I am thinking of you and your family. It brings back lots of Royston High School memories. Love, Ann
Ann Turner Wood
Classmate
December 16, 2020
When one sees a man infrequently, and he remembers and calls you by name, speaks volumes of his heart, character, and soul. Terry was such a man. Every moment in his presence, albeit brief, was always an honor, and will remain an endearing memory.

You will be sorely missed dear friend. Now, dance....

Robert
Robert Black Eagle Costa
Friend
December 16, 2020
A beloved English professor of mine was fond of saying some people were “like life walking through the door.” That was my sensation when Terry Kay walked into the lobby of Atlanta Public Broadcasting in 1983 at my invitation to discuss collaborating on a television series about Southern literature. I knew immediately that he’d be the ideal presenter and co-producer. In our regionally distributed series The Southern Voice Terry deftly interviewed other brilliant writers including Alex Haley, Pat Conroy, David Bottoms and Bettie Sellers, and he graced the programs with elegant commentary. It was some of my proudest work in public television -- and the start of a cherished friendship with Terry. After I completed my log home next to Arabia Mountain, Terry -- needing a quiet place to work during the day -- wrote To Dance with the White Dog there with my black cat on his lap. My heart breaks that Terry has left us. But I’m so thankful to have known and loved him.
Chris Moser
Friend
December 16, 2020
I had the pleasure and, yes, honor of working with Terry off and on in the late 80s and 90s -- as the communications director of Chapter 11 Books, and as co-producer (w/Sarah duBignon) of the nearly 20-year run of Atlanta Writers in Concert, benefiting the Atlanta Community Food Bank. He was always there for us -- and he was most definitely one of a kind -- in the very best sense of the phrase.
Elizabeth Wilson
Friend
December 16, 2020
Having moved to Royston in the 90s, I was touched by Terry's first book "The year the lights came on" and subsequently read almost all the others. When asked what is Terry's genre, all I could say is that he can't easily be labeled but, trust me, he is just a great storyteller. In describing a writer, need I say more. The Kay family lost a great one.
David R. Shaffer
December 16, 2020
Terry Kay was my generous mentor, gave me a scholarship to Emory's Summer Writing Program where he was a great orator and a wild story teller. He encouraged me to turn my Ms. into a book "Guava Dreams" and even wrote a blurb for it. No one who has known this gentle good son of the south will ever forget him. Mary Torre Kelly
Mary Torre Kelly
Friend
December 16, 2020
I was fortunate enough to meet Mr. Kay at a book signing a number if years ago with all my books in hand. He graciously signed all of them without reserve. He was a wonderful writer, a gracious man, and by all accounts from articles I've read, someone I would liked to have known personally as a dear friend. My deepest and most heartfelt condolences to all his family, friends and fans.
Christine Brown
December 16, 2020
Offering our deepest condolences during this difficult time.
Bernstein Funeral Home
December 15, 2020
I have all of the books he wrote and have enjoyed them every time I re-read them. Rest in peace and may God comfort the family.
Rose Purdy
Acquaintance
December 14, 2020
I have all of Terry’s books, love them and him. He always had time to stop and chat with my husband and I, (we’re both 81) at Barnes & Noble or the Athens Library book signings. He will be missed and remembered.
Deepest condolences to his loving family.
Eleanor McMinn
December 14, 2020
I’m deeply saddened by this news. He was like a Dad to me growing up in Decatur. My family dearly loved him ( and his books) and the entire Kay family. Our deepest sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with you Tommie, Terri, Scott , Jon, Heather and your extended families. We love you all very much. Jean and Myra
Jean Martin Bowles
Friend
December 14, 2020
My deepest sympathies to Tommie, Terri, Scott, Jon and Heather. I'm sure I speak for many that knew him when I say we will all miss his warmth, humor, wisdom and gentle Southern charm. Terry was always generous with his time toward my family and me. My wish at this sad time is that I had met him sooner so that I could have more of the many fond memories I have of him.
Joe Ruiz
Friend
December 14, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful life lived to the fullest. Terri I am so sorry to hear about your daddy. You will see him again. We love you and we are praying for you and your family. Ellen & Kelly Iannarelli
Ellen Iannarelli
Friend
December 14, 2020
How well I remember the days at West GA College and all the friendships I made there. Tommie. you and Terry are a special part of those memories. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Donna Echols Eberhart
Friend
December 14, 2020
So sorry to read of Mr Kay's passing. I met him when I worked at Habersham EMC in Clarkesville, GA. He was working with Oglethorpe Power. He was such a nice man...told my co-worker and me about his book "THE YEAR THE LIGHTS CAME ON". After our conversation, I rushed to the local bookstore and ordered a copy. I still have the book...and the precious memory of meeting Mr Kay. What an amazing, talented man. Condolences to his family and co-workers.
Elizabeth Gardiner
December 14, 2020
My heart goes out to the family for your loss. Georgia and the world grieve with you.
Marla Payne Wise
December 13, 2020
I will miss his writings and humor. He was a artist with words. I had the privilege to tell him face to face how much I loved reading his books.
Renee Harris
December 13, 2020
He was a great teacher
T.R. Wade
Friend
December 13, 2020
I’m so sorry Tommie, Terri, Scott, Jon and Heather. You have all been in my thoughts and prayers.
Paula Kay Tiller
December 13, 2020
Terry Kay has been a wonderful bridge of reading for my dad and I ..my dad, 85,, loves all his books, and so do I...he was a guest at Perimeter College when we selected his book, The Book of Marie" for our college wide reading program..a gentleman, truly funny with an approachable writing style..I will miss him..hope he's having fun with Conroy in that heaven for writers.. condolences to his family..he lived a good life..and he was well loved
Rebecca Rakoczy
Acquaintance
December 13, 2020
I'm a descendant of the Kay Family. Bailey Kay was my ggg grandfather, so sorry to read of his passing. Prayers for all the family.

james seymour
Family
December 13, 2020
My condolences to the family. I enjoyed reading the stories told by Mr. Kay. His literary voice will be missed by the reading public. Peace be with you.
Margaret Britton
December 13, 2020
My heart is broken. We have lost one of the finest writers and storytellers of all time and one of the finest gentleman.
Maureen Grimes
Friend
December 13, 2020
Terry Kay has always been a part of Atlanta’s legacy to the world, very admired by his local public, then shared with the world. I loved “The Runaway” and was honored to meet Terry Kay in 1997 and have my book signed by him. RIP
JUNE MORRISON
Acquaintance
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