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August 23, 1950 - September 4, 2023
Some say that “grief is the price you pay for love”. If so, that would explain why this hurts so much.
With heartfelt sadness, the family announces the passing of Terry after a brief illness. With family by his side, we said goodbye to a loving partner, proud father, best poppa ever, brother & brother-in-law, uncle, and a dear friend to so many. Terry ensured no words were left unspoken and true to form, he found a way to ease our pain with love and humour.
He will be forever remembered by his loving wife Janet, his children Rhys (Mae), Kyla, Jesse (Becky), and the absolute joys of his life, his grandchildren: Lincoln, Leo, and Zoe. Also, his siblings Roger and Gillian, their families as well as many lifelong friends. Predeceased by his parents Fred and Agnes Williams.
Terry was born in Newport, Wales (UK), immigrating to Canada with his family at the age of 6. He remained the proudest Canadian Welshman you have ever met, returning home 5 times during his adult life, including one trip with the entire family. Terry was so happy to be able to share his beautiful home country and the loving family he left behind as a child. The pride and the bonds remained tight to the last day: a Welsh flag flies in our yard and Terry joined a Welsh choir where he learned to sing in Welsh (not an easy feat).
Mississauga, Ontario would become his home for the next 25 years where lifelong friendships were established and remained strong throughout his lifetime. The family settled in Cedar Grove trailer park. Although he would later move away, he was firmly dedicated to ensuring he never lost touch with anyone, anywhere, across the globe.
Terry continued to make his annual trip back home to Ontario to do the rounds with family and friends. This past spring, he put 2,600 km on his rental car just to make sure he saw everybody.
Terry's next home was Churchill, Manitoba after graduating from Sheridan College with a degree in Security and Law Enforcement. He accepted a job as a probation officer in Churchill and landed with $27 in his pocket. He bravely left everything and everyone behind to embark on this unknown adventure into Canada’s North. Over time he took on the role of Director of the Outreach Department.
Little did he know that this adventure would change his life forever. He quickly fell in love with the town and its pristine natural landscape and the beautiful wildlife. A couple of his favourite things were to spend time on the water amongst the belugas and lay in a snowbank and admire the northern lights. He always talked about feeling so fortunate to be received by people of Churchill in the way that he was. Churchill was his magical place resulting in many more lifelong friends. And above all else, during his time in Churchill, Terry fell in love with Janet. In May 1981, in the middle of a whiteout, Terry and Janet met in the entry way of “A-Block”, with neither of them appreciating just how meaningful that handshake would soon become. They were married in 1983 and started their family in Churchill (Rhys born in 1985), returning to Winnipeg in 1986 to be closer to family. Their family soon expanded to welcome Kyla and Jesse. A few short years after moving south, Terry found a dreamy 5-acre property in East St Paul, which would become and remains the family home. After his upbringing in small spaces, Terry was so happy to be able to look out and see land, sunrises and sunsets, and even on occasion: his beloved Northern Lights. He enjoyed his neighbourhood walks that could sometimes take hours because he stopped to chat with everyone along the way.
Watching his kids grow up to be strong, caring, and responsible adults brought him so much pride. Later in life, he found immeasurable joy when he was blessed with grandchildren. His devotion to them was unconditional.
It was incredible how much time and energy Terry devoted to all the children in his life including nieces, nephews and friends. Guitar playing was a constant that brought so much joy to everyone.
Terry's entire career was focused on Social Services. With the move to Winnipeg came the start of a lengthy career with Child and Family Services (1986-2015). He brought a measured and calm approach to a field of work that is often so very challenging and misunderstood but he always focussed on what really mattered.
He retired in 2015, only to quickly return to the workforce, spending 2 years as a Social Worker with the River East Transcona School Division. Terry loved the school environment and felt comfortable roaming the halls once again (although this time he was not the hall monitor ensuring order like he did in his younger years). After failing to retire once again, Terry returned to Churchill on a contract basis. He resumed a role with CFS in 2017 and was thrilled to be back. He once again felt so welcomed by the town. That summer the entire family joined him for a very memorable August long weekend. During that trip, the North gifted them with every possible magical experience in just 4 short days: belugas, bears, northern lights, the annual ball tournament, and a bonfire on the beach. The love of the North has been successfully passed down. Since Terry's last failed retirement, he was privileged to accept a position with the Terra Bay Food Services program at St John's High School, providing food security and removing barriers within education.
Terry was a man of Community. He was all about giving back, sharing what he had, and helping those less fortunate than himself. He regularly modeled and instilled these values onto his children, often making it a family affair. The family grew up volunteering together for both the Special Olympics and the Terry Fox Run, while he would later become a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. He donned his Santa Hat and Xmas tie and would come home glowing about the generosity of others. He also spent 10 years Dragon boating with the COD Squad from Concordia, raising money for Cancer Care.
His Halloween magic shows in the neighbourhood became a highlight for many, as was his Christmas caroling, and he always made sure to lead his Folk Fest gate crew in song.
Sports always played a huge part in Terry’s life. From a very early age he discovered the love of hockey, lacrosse, and golf. With sports came a lifetime of friendships that he cherished greatly. On trips back to Ontario, Janet would hear many a story of “Terry O”, the goaltender for the Dixie Beehives. Lacrosse stories quickly followed about playing semi-pro for the Mississauga PCO. Terry coached his boys and their friends for many years. His approach was always calm and supportive.
Refereeing lacrosse was another passion of his along with developing a mentorship program for young referees. He later shared that joy with both of his boys.
Terry embraced the simple things in life and found joy and wonder in nature. He took many long walks in Birds Hill Park, always with bird seed in his pocket to feed the chickadees.
To honour Terry: play with the kids as much as possible, share with those who are less fortunate, hug your friends and family tight, sing songs, go for walks, and think of him every time you see Northern Lights.
A celebration of Terry’s life will be held at 1:00 pm on Thursday, November 2, at the Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain, 340 Provencher Blvd.
Terry's family kindly requests that all of his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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