By Laurie Stone: PNT Correspondent
Keith Terry tried to never leave people feeling abandoned as he distributed respect and friendship towards people he encountered.
According to family members, Keith had a way with people.
On March 25, 2005, Keith Terry died in his home of pancreatic cancer.
Judy Terry, Keith Terry’s wife, said that she and her husband shared a closeness that most people never find.
“We actually enjoyed one another’s company,” she said.
Judy was most proud of her husband for the accomplishments that he made whether they were large or small, but she said it was his devotion to his family that captured her the most.
“He worked awfully hard to provide for us,” Judy said. “When we started out in our marriage, he would always say, ‘If there is a will there is a way’ and he usually found it,” she said.
Keith Terry was born on Nov. 19, 1940, in Portales, to Musette and Bob Terry. He married his bride, Judy Cummingson, of 40 years on Aug. 27, 1958. They met in the junior high school lunchroom and married a few years later. They have three children together. Living his whole life in Portales, Keith graduated from the Portales High School in 1959. He farmed for about 12 years before trading the farm in for a house where his family still remains.
In 1970, Keith purchased farm equipment and established a custom harvesting business in 1984. He left the harvesting business and focused on the cliché business full time in 1986. He worked the cotton gin, did custom work, drove a truck and hauled sweet potatoes during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday. He retired in 1995.
According to family members, one of Keith’s greatest passions was trading and restoring cars. He began purchasing and trading cars when he was 14 years old, before he had a driver’s license. In 1981, he began collecting antique cars, which he would restore and resell.
Keith was a member of the Third and Kilgore Church of Christ, Eastern New Mexico Antique Auto Club and the Sun Country Auto Club.
“I’m really going to miss my dad and the conversations we had,” said Jeff Terry, Keith Terry’s son. “He helped me a lot. One thing he told me when I was driving a caliche truck was not to ever pull down anything that I could not back out of. I really apply that to life,” he said. “I gained from my father the ability to do hard work and I hope I can someday do it half as well as he did.”
Family members said that Keith knew how to relate to people in a way that made them feel comfortable and acceptable
Kathy Mobley, Keith’s youngest daughter, said her father was an awesome and spectacular person that was great about being able to talk to people about their choices. She said he had empathy for others, which made him able to relate to what people were going through.
“When I messed up, he never made me feel ashamed of my mistakes,” Kathy said. “He strove to make us, his family, aware of the chain of events that come afterwards when making a decision.”
Kathy said her father always reminded the family that when you have to make a choice, to make sure it was one you could be proud of later.