Nicola Katz, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Terry laughed easily, and with gusto. Her joie de vivre was sincere, and she had a knack for finding the upside even where others could not.
In fact, as it was recently pointed out by Terry’s brother-in-law, never once in the nearly year-long battle she had with cancer, did Terry ever ask “Why me?” Instead, in typical Terry style, she remained practical and got right down to the business of making the best of the situation at hand: caring for the needs of her loving family, organizing every last detail of their fundraising efforts, making time for farewells to friends and colleagues, and ultimately planning the details of one final event – her own celebration of life.
This engagement and dedication comes as no surprise for those of us at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences that had seen Terry in action over her six years as Manager and later as Director of Congress. Ever the mother hen, no matter how busy she was, Terry made the rounds at our flagship Congress events (putting thousands of steps on her tracker) to personally ensure that staff were taking care of themselves and that they were feeling supported.
In the office, at the end of a busy week, we’d often smell Friday afternoon popcorn, popped by Terry and left in the lunchroom for all to enjoy. And there were lots of other surprise pick-me-up treats at key points in our busy event cycles, and at epic-long meetings where Terry led us in sorting out 1,001 details, none of which she was going to allow to slip. After a job well done, she knew how to mark a success and acknowledge her staff’s contributions, carving out time for celebration, such as the post-Congress staff event, and her signature year-end staff breakfast.
Despite her thorough attention to detail at work, Terry knew how to draw the line between her life at work and at home. After all, home, and specifically her family (her beloved husband and two sons) was her number one priority. Dedicated as she was to her career, family always came first. She proudly told colleagues about the daily full-course pancake breakfasts she made (yes, on workdays!) for her sons. Her face lit up whenever she spoke of them. Family time was something she took great pleasure in sharing with others through stories and photos. In many ways, Terry served as an example to us all.
With Terry, you knew where you stood: she spoke her mind frankly, called a spade a spade, was disarmingly real. As a result, she brought out the best in people. Terry also brought out the best in Congress, year after year. She poured her heart into it. This spring, when she was unable to attend Congress 2018 in Regina, a “Send a message to Terry” board was set up on the Expo tradeshow floor to gather messages of hope and love from those who had been touched by her work – attendees, association executives, university leaders, and even The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.
As we journey on without her, our team will honour her memory by remembering her head-on approach to problem solving, her people-centred approach to staff, and the joyful sprit with which she tackled life and all it threw her way. We send condolences along with thoughts of courage and compassion to everyone who, like us, loved Terry for all that she was and for all that she taught us. We are better people for having had her in our lives.