Terry Lee Wilson, 77, of Eatonville, Wash., died peacefully at home surrounded by family on Jan. 20, 2021, at 11:59 a.m.
Terry was born to Herbert Clyde Wilson and Shirley Ruth Cox (nee McCormick) at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, Wash., on Oct. 5, 1943. He was married to Beverly Baublits Wilson from Dec. 5, 1992 until his passing. He was previously married to Deloris Ann Krieger for 24 years and maintained a lifelong friendship.
"Generous," "kind" and "only saw the best in people" are the traits most commonly mentioned when friends and family describe him. A 27-year veteran of the Seattle Police Department, Terry was especially proud of the fact that he was able to resolve tense and dangerous situations the old-fashion way, not with a gun, but with a willingness to listen without judgment and a readiness to offer a hand to anyone in need of a little extra help. Surprisingly, over the course of his career, he never once demonstrated a particularly strong fondness for donuts, always preferring a simple maple bar or banana split instead.
Terry was a varsity team boxer at Rogers High School (Spokane, Wash.), and joined the U.S. Army at age 17 to be a paratrooper. He honorably served in the U.S. Army as a Light Weapons Infantry Specialist from Sept. 22, 1961, to Sept. 21, 1964. He received a Parachutist Badge upon successful completion of training at the Airborne School on March 23, 1962, serving with the 187th Infantry Regiment (nicknamed “Rakkasans”), 101st Airborne Division.
More than anything, Terry loved to spend time with family and friends, especially when that time involved playing tennis, card games and board games of almost any kind. Other pastimes included playing both the guitar and organ. Not one friend or family member can remember a time when they heard Terry raise his voice in anger towards another person. It was this special ability to stay calm at all times and his gentle and encouraging laugh that will be missed most by those who knew him best.
Years after an initial diagnosis, the relentless progression of Alzheimer’s disease reached a decisive point. Facing increasing pain and confusion, and understanding the future toll the disease would demand, Terry made the difficult and deliberate decision to end his life on his terms, surrounded and supported by loved ones he still knew, by stopping the consumption of both food and water while under hospice care. Unfortunately, current Washington State laws do not offer Alzheimer's patients any other form of relief from the cruel ravages of the disease, making “Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking” (VSED) the only legal choice for those ready to make their own end-of-life decision. In the end, and although he knew it would be a challenge, Terry bravely chose and diligently exercised his right to autonomy until his final breath. He moved on to a better place without faltering and with a contented smile on his face.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Shirley Cox and his stepson, Kevin Iams. He is survived by his wife, Beverly Wilson, siblings Herb Gene Wilson (Lyn) and Lynn Dee Gregory; sons Darian Lee Wilson (Masako) and Micah Ryan Wilson (Melanie); stepson Bryan Iams (Sarah); grandchildren Lita Ann Johnson (Mark), Amber Joy Wilson, Darian Kazu Wilson, Tanner Ryan Wilson, Iain Jin Wilson, Clayton Robert Iams, Braedon Green Wilson and Kessa Ann Iams. He is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews and in-laws who will sorely miss him.
In lieu of flowers, Terry’s family respectfully requests donations be made in his honor in support of TGen's Alzheimier's disease research.