At 95, Howard Terry, founder of the Terry Foundation non-profit scholarship organization, suffered a fatal heart attack Friday morning.
“Success is the attainment of goals you’ve set for yourself in life,” Terry used to advise the many he’s mentored, according to terryfoundation.org. And in accordance with his own motto, Terry was the perfect model of success.
After serving as a patrol torpedo boat captain in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Terry was recruited by Procter & Gamble to help set up a chain of appliance stores in which he served successfully as general manager until 1951. He later decided to go into business for himself and founded several businesses including Marathon Manufacturing and Crutcher Resources. In 1981, he founded the Terry Companies — a multi-state oil and gas exploration corporation.
There came a time, however, when Terry reflected on the good fortunes he’s had in all his business ventures and wanted to give back to the community, to help young people who had the potential to be just as successful but might need that initial boost.
Howard and Nancy Terry created the Terry Foundation in 1987, providing full-ride, four-year scholarships to students entering their freshman year at select Texas universities. Currently sponsoring approximately 800 students at eight different colleges, including the University of Houston, the Terry Foundation has put more than 2,600 students through college since its inception and will continue to provide educational funds for talented students after Terry’s death.
Not only did Terry lead a long, successful life, but through selflessness he sent many others well on their way to success as well. Students should take the loss of this great man as a reminder to think back on the people who have given them the opportunity to be who they are today, and say thank you.
Howard Terry is survived by his wife Nancy; children Harry Terry, Suzann Terry Smith, Victoria Terry Steinhoff and Cindy Terry Hempel; 14 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.