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Robert Terry

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Robert Terry Obituary
Robert (Bob) Terry

Robert Terry died peacefully at home on Saturday, September 1, 2018, at the age of 91. He was born to Hija Trice and Dock Terry in Pine Bluff Arkansas on September 29, 1926. His grandmother, Ella Trice, raised him in La Grande Oregon where he attended Greenwood Elementary School, Central Junior High School, and La Grande High School.

Bob served in the Navy during WWII and returned to Oregon with a football scholarship to the University of Oregon. In the 1940s African Americans could not live in the dormitories, so he returned to La Grande to live with his grandmother. He earned a degree in Education from Eastern Oregon College (University) in 1950 and later earned a Masters Degree in Student Personnel from Seattle University.

Bob was a groundbreaker for African Americans in Seattle. He was the first African American man to teach in the Seattle School District. He served as the President of Seattle Central Community College and Chancellor of the Seattle Community College System before retiring. He established himself as a loving surrogate father to the neighborhood children as he drove young boys to football practice, yet he did not hesitate to reprimand a child for breaking a window. Many young people in the Mt Baker neighborhood viewed him as a role model and learned a deep sense of community and responsibility from him. He was a longtime member of Immaculate Conception Church and served on the Pastoral Council.

Bob loved his family. He encouraged and supported their pursuits and interests by attending events that they participated in over the years. His Saturday morning waffles, grilled salmon, and homemade soups and stews were a few of the family favorites. Bob's lemon coconut cake was the best of gifts on birthdays and holiday family gatherings. He loved eating good food as much as he enjoyed preparing it.

Bob and Frances Terry were married for 67 years and shared a passion for football. They were charter season ticket holders of the Seattle Seahawks and longtime season ticket holders of the University of Washington Huskies. He loved jazz music and had an extensive collection of Big Band recordings on old 78's. In his youth, many black Jazz musicians like Jimmie Lunceford stayed at his grandmother's home when they traveled through La Grande and Baker Oregon.

Bob is survived by his wife Frances, daughter Deborah Terry-Hays, (Kalvin Smith), sons, Robert D. (Marilyn), Michael, W. Brian, (MizSunni), and Walter Terry. He was preceded in death by great-grandson Khabir and son-in-law Roy Hays. He leaves behind eleven grandchildren; Tanita, Robert II, Tim, Andrew, Sakara, Kayode, Sekou, Zawdie, Otieno, Obadiah, and Benicio. Thirteen great-grandchildren Deserena, Davine, Damira, Dajane, Jada, Kailani, Maya, Mackenzie, Cooper, Majestik, Florence, Estella and Osito; and one great-great grandchild Leilani as well as several cousins, nephews, nieces, and many friends.

He was deeply loved and will be greatly missed.

A Mass in Celebration of

Bob's life will be held at

Immaculate Conception Church, 820 18th Ave, Seattle, WA on

Saturday, September 15 at 11:00 am.

Viewing from 9:30-10:45 am; Rosary 10:00 am. A Repast will follow after the Mass in Immaculate Conception's Social Hall, burial at Holyrood Cemetery 4:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the Seattle Central College Foundation; 1701 Broadway; Seattle, WA 98122.
Published in The Seattle Times from Sept. 12 to Sept. 14, 2018
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