Terry Whittier Has Died

[Terry Whittier recently passed away. Not many details are known at this time. He had been a fan photographer since 1972, taking pictures of costumes at Westercons, NASFiCs, Worldcons and many other conventions. And a decade ago he regularly wrote letters of comment to File 770. Here, fan artist Taral Wayne shares his memories of Terry.]

By Taral: Well, dammit, more bad news. I got a call today from an artist I know from LA. He’s a furry and made a living after a fashion, as I did at one time. One of his main customers was also a heavy buyer from this artist, and he conveyed the bad news that Terry Whittier had just died. I’d known Terry for a long time, when he used to publish a fanzine called Altair in the 1970’s.

Terry Whittier in the 70s.

He was a big fan of mine and flatteringly compared my work to George Barr. I now realized that Terry had somewhat unsophisticated taste, and that at the time there was no comparison. Nevertheless, we remained in touch through the years, and Terry bought a lot of my work over time.

Terry never made a big name for himself in SF, but moved in larger circles in furry fandom, acting as a patron of the arts.

I didn’t know much about his family, though he had two sisters, but seemed to be a rather private individual as far as such things went. He lived alone. He worked most of his life in engineering, and I believe was a specialist in hard drive design.

Since I began fading out of the picture from furry fandom, I’ve had less contact with Terry, but never completely lost touch. I learned last year that his health had been poor, and then suddenly he had bone cancer, and a pernicious fungal infection in his lungs.

 He arranged to live with his sister as long as his health held out, but from what he told me he wasn’t expected to live more than a year or two. In the end, he died much sooner than that, after only a few months.

That makes it a perfect trifecta. At one time there were three furry fans who I once joked about as my three most loyal fans. All three are gone, now, leaving behind a very spooky void.

Terry Whittier in 1984, taken by Taral while they were touring a US Navy submarine — a museum ship anchored at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.