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Obituary: Terry, Raymond Joseph

Raymond Joseph “Ray” Terry

Terry, Raymond Joseph

Raymond Joseph “Ray” Terry, 84, of Beltsville, Maryland, passed away peacefully on Friday, September 25, 2020, at the Able Plus Assisted Living Facility in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he had spent the last two years of his life. He had lived on Montgomery Road in Beltsville for 40 years.

Ray was born on August 6, 1936, in Bay Shore, New York. He was the only child of Francis Hallock Terry and Mildred Elizabeth (Meyer) (Terry) Knowles. His father died of scarlet fever in 1939, just a few years before the development of antibiotics, so Ray grew up with his mother, grandmother, and dog Poochie, who followed him to school each day. Ray graduated from Bay Shore High School in 1953 and subsequently attended the Holderness Prep School in New Hampshire. He enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia but left early to join the Navy in March 1956. Serving aboard the aircraft carriers USS Hancock and USS Ranger in the Pacific through January 1960, he received training in electronics and telecommunications.

In June 1963, while living in Honolulu, Hawaii, Ray became a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and remained one until November 2015. At church, he met Betty Glendora Davis and thought he had found heaven on earth. They married on December 7, 1963, and the next year moved to Prince George’s County, Maryland to be closer to their parents as they became parents themselves. Ray continued his education at the University of Maryland in College Park, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, making Phi Beta Kappa, and coming just shy of earning a Ph.D. He used his earlier training from the Navy to work as an electronics technician at AT&T for 35 years, retiring in 1995.

Ray and Betty raised five children and later cared for their parents. In retirement, they served a church mission at the LDS Business College in Salt Lake City with their son David and then moved back to Hawaii part-time, reliving their early married life. Ray, Betty, and David were like the three musketeers until Betty’s death in 2011.

Ray had a passion for genealogy. He researched both his own family history and Betty’s. In the 1990s, he created the website, an extensive record of Betty’s mixed-race heritage and the tri-racial communities of the mid-Atlantic region. The website has become a valuable resource for researchers.

Ray was loved and will be remembered for his humor, intellect, and readiness to serve others, as well as for his year-round preference for Hawaiian shirts and open-toed Birkenstock sandals, an enduring puzzlement to his East Coast friends.

He is survived by his children, Elizabeth Terry and her husband Michael Stoler, William Terry and his wife Lilly Terry, Frances (Terry) Meyerson and her husband George Meyerson, Ellen (Terry) Holder and her husband Jess Holder, and David Terry, as well as twelve grandchildren, Zachary, Aaron, Seth, Thomas, Meghan, Rachel, Kiera, Lauren, Michael, Abby, David, and Quinn. He is also survived by his first cousins Cornelia “Connie” Terry Ferguson and Marjorie “Punky” Meyer Palmer. He was preceded in death by his parents, Francis Terry and Mildred Knowles, and his wife Betty Davis Terry.

Ray was a passionate and proud supporter of civil rights. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ( or the Southern Poverty Law Center ( A virtual memorial service will be held at a later date. Please contact the family at for updates and information.

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