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John N. Terrey

1926 - 2017
John N. Terrey Obituary
John N. Terrey

January 19, 1926-December 28, 2017

On December 28, 2017, Dr. John N. Terrey passed away in his sleep. Terrey was born in 1926 in Chicago, the second of eight children. His mother passed away when he was 12, and at age 14 he moved to the Seattle area to live with his aunt, Bernice Kuhn, and her husband Louis. At age 17 he left West Seattle High School to enlist in the Marines and fight in the Pacific theater of World War II. He incurred three rounds of life-threatening bullet and shrapnel wounds and was twice awarded the purple heart. Upon returning to the United States in 1946, he earned his GED, and then subsequently a B.A. in History (1949), a B.A.Ed. in English (1950) and a M.Ed. (1960) from Western Washington University and his Doctorate in Education from Washington State University (1964). He went on to establish a career in education at all levels, teaching at multiple high schools and then entering higher administration. He helped to found and then became first Dean of Instruction at Tacoma Community College. Subsequently, he served as liaison between the legislature and Central Washington University, where he then became Dean of Instruction. In 1969 he began working for the Washington State Board for Community Colleges, finally assuming the Directorship from 1978-1987. In that capacity, he expanded the number of colleges in the system and increased enrollment while also enhancing the curriculum to include more vocational training and general education. Under his watch, the system became a model nationally for expanding educational opportunities. Upon retirement, he returned to the classroom, his real joy, teaching courses at Shoreline Community College and the University of Washington and then co-founding and teaching at the Creative Retirement Institute. He also co-founded the Lutheran Alliance to Create Housing (LATCH). His efforts have been acknowledged with numerous honors, including being named an Outstanding Alumnus at Western Washington University (1986) and a State Humanities Award Honoree (1997) as well as receiving the Alumni Achievement Award at Washington State University (2010). The John N. Terrey Library at Everett Community College was also named for him. In his spare time, Terrey enjoyed traveling, reading (anything, but especially all things related to Romantic poetry and art), and following Seattle sports and Notre Dame football.

In his personal life, he was married for 52 years to Elizabeth Terrey, who survives him. He has three children - Scott, Kevin (deceased), and Sue - from an earlier marriage, along with grandchildren and great grandchildren. He will be missed by his extended family, including his sister-in-law Dorothy Matysik (and Elbert Butcher); his nieces Sheri (and Doug Henrikson) and Tracie Matysik; his nephew Mike Matysik (and Anna); and his great nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made to the Creative Retirement Institute or LATCH. For information about a memorial service to be scheduled, please contact [email protected]
Published in The Seattle Times on Dec. 31, 2017
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