Yale '62 - Obituaries - Nathan Maxson Terry, Jr.

Nathan Maxson Terry, Jr.

Born: October 5, 1940
Died: August 15, 1998

Max Terry was born in Dover, Delaware. He prepared at Loomis and majored in History. He was a ranking scholar and on the Dean's List.

Max was a resident of Saybrook, a member of Phi Gamma Delta, and on the Banner board.

Following graduation he went directly to Yale Law School and graduated with honors in 1965. He then returned to Dover and entered practice with his father, N. Maxson Terry, Sr. He rose to head of his firm, Tenry Jackson Terry & Wright. He married his wife Susan Davis in 1966. She writes that his almost 30 years in private practice were a constant whirl of practice, family, and work. "My husband's door was always open to help others, especially the less fortunate. His pro bono cases were too numerous to count."

In 1998, Max was appointed to the Delaware Superior Court. His investiture to the Delaware Judiciary in July 1994 was a joyful occasion for Max and his family. Following in the footsteps of Wolcott and Terry relatives who had made their mark in Delaware law, Max proved himself a natural jurist, and within weeks of joining the Delaware Superior Court, his first opinion was published in the Atlantic Reporter. Susan writes that, "He loved research and was a skilled writer so his decisions were published at a remarkable pace for a new judge with a full criminal and civil docket. Max often said he had never met anyone he did not like. I think perhaps Max's belief that everyone has some redeeming value gave his law practice and his short career on the bench a special quality. Max had enormous faith in people and his sense of compassion and prudent wisdom will be forever sorely missed. I think it can almost go without saying that Max's four years as an undergraduate at Yale and three years at Yale Law School helped to hone the skills he came by naturally. The intellect and diversity of those who taught and those who Max studied with, lived with and socialized with all served to shape, sharpen, direct and discipline a man who gave it his all."

Max collapsed and died suddenly on August 15, 1998, of an aneurysm just after performing a wedding at a Dover area country club.

In addition to his beloved widow, Max was survived by his sons N. Maxson Terry, III, and R. Gordon Davis Terry. The mourners crowding his funeral and burial in the historic churchyard of Christ Episcopal Church in Dover reflected the broad legacy of his life and his years of civic service, ranging from the poor to the rich, from high school chums to fellow members of the judiciary and the Delaware Lieutenant Governor, the U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator Joseph Biden.