Terry. Toot. Tooter. One Christmas, when Terry was maybe 3 years old, he got a little sit-on riding scooter that he loved. He would ride that thing around our big house with abandon, a big grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye. Dad described him as ‘tootin’ around,’ and his nickname was born. He was and still is the most pleasant kid. Anyone else in their right mind would refuse to answer to that name, but not Tooter.
Terry has an interesting position in this large family. With four years between he and Brian, he would be considered the oldest in what we often to refer to as the second family. And with all of his characteristics, I would have to agree. When the folks decided to move the family to the back woods of northern Michigan away from ‘the bad influences’ downstate, Terry, at 14, would drive the old ‘Spider’ truck down the quarter-mile snow-covered driveway plowing a path. A born leader, he watched out for his younger siblings with a natural ease. He was happy pretty much all the time. A popular kid with both classmates and teachers, he thrived in the small Catholic school where he met the love of his life, Cathy.
I feel a special affinity with Terry. No one but Dad ever called me ‘Maur.’ After Dad passed, I realized Terry would occasionally call me that, and it just felt so good. I’m sure he doesn’t realize it, but in that and so many other ways I find him so much like Dad in his mannerisms, his fierce love of family, and his natural ability to be a ham. He has been a trusted confidante and a wise adviser. He and Cathy have created a wonderful family that sticks close together through thick and thin. He is slowly approaching retirement from Consumer’s Energy with a well thought-out plan (which, admittedly, is totally unlike Dad!). He’s just one of those guys you like hangin’ out with, waiting for the grin, the quick comeback, the twinkle. He loves all the Michigan seasons, skiing in the winter and enjoying their cottage on Lake Huron in the summer. But I think perhaps his favorite thing to do is sit around a campfire with friends and family, a cold beer, and a cee-gar.