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.

11 thoughts on “Terry Whittier Has Died

  1. OMG!

    It’s been years since I talked with Terry, but he did come out of the Sacramento community and was well known in those circles. I believe he was one of the honorees at the Leo Birthday Party. He moved down to San Jose and shared an apartment with one of my ex-boyfriends. He was such a nice guy.

  2. I knew Terry for over 50 years, he was my friend. I will miss him. I don’t ever think I saw him with out a big grin on his face. He enjoyed life every day. Farewell Terry you will live on in our thoughts.

  3. I remember driving to Berkeley from San Jose with Terry to go to Taiko drumming concerts at the University there. We met other friends from the Bay Area and Sacramento. We had so much fun. He was the nicest person and very intelligent. He was at most of the Leo Birthday Parties I went to and also the Christmas parties for the Sacramento Mythopoeic Society. He always brought enough presents for everyone even if he didn’t know them. Fare thee well, my good friend.

  4. Oh no, oh no. This is so sad. I met Terry in the mid-1970’s, when he was a member of the American River College SF Club. His club fanzine was PHRED, possibly an acronym. Our friendship went through stages. He was occasionally annoying, often brilliant, warm hearted, loyal, sharply perceptive. Due to the lockdown I hadn’t seen him in a few years — the last, I think, was at the Sacramento Westercon (2013). Rest well, Terry, we will all miss you.

  5. Terry introduced me to parts of Sacto Fandom I never new about. Remembered how excited he was when he got his first big job. Time to dig out the old copies of Altair… and remember good things from the hometown.

  6. Oh no, oh no. This is so sad. I met Terry in the mid-1970’s, when he was a member of the American River College SF Club. His club fanzine was PHRED, possibly an acronym. Our friendship went through stages. He was occasionally annoying, often brilliant, warm hearted, loyal, sharply perceptive. He was one of those anome-stricken youths who made a home in fandom because he could find it nowhere else (rather like me, in fact). Due to the lockdown I hadn’t seen him in a few years — the last, I think, was at the Sacramento Westercon (2013). Rest well, Terry, you restless mind. We will all miss you.

  7. Patricia – Do you know how to get in touch with Paula Christ? I think she would want to know.

  8. I’m so sorry to hear that Terry has passed on. I always looked forward to seeing Terry at the Avalon Christmas parties each year in Sacramento. Alas, another one of our mythos society has gone on to clear the path to Valhalla!

  9. Hi Everyone,

    My name is Dave, and I was Terry’s roommate for 20+ years

    I wanted to let everyone know that terry was a one of a kind individual and gave a lot to me to make it in this world. There were times where I didn’t work and he allowed me to stay in his home. He helped me thru alot of the darkest times in my life.

    He loved his friends, and his family and most of all his art. It’s nice to read from several of u that knew him and to learn about him still. I took over the place he resided with me at and stay here with family now.

    Terry got gravely sick last year, and I did get him to go be with family before his demise. I wanted him to and he deserved that much in the least for all the work he did over the years. He spent 40 years working at IBM, when they were sold, Hitachi and then Western Digital.

    I will never forget him as he was someone I valued very much as my friend, and even more so family because he was there for me when no one else was.

    It’s good to know he had friends and even fans, and people that miss him.

    Here is his Facebook and obituary

    https://www.facebook.com/terry.whittier.3

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/obituaries.neptune-society.com/obituaries/sacramento-ca/terry-whittier-10527809/amp

    Please do feel free to stop by.

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