Husband, father, farmer, telephone man, traveller, dedicated community worker. Born July 24, 1934, in Melfort, Sask. Died Jan. 26, 2011, in Thunder Bay of lymphoma, aged 76.
Growing up on the farm, Terry Fennell developed an early respect for hard work and the importance of saving and recycling. The eldest of three sons of Mindonna and Laurence Fennell, Terry recalled spending many hours tending the large garden and caring for the livestock that provided much of the family’s food for the year.
Terry loved to share stories of his school days. As a student of piano and voice, he took part in music festivals and concerts. At 10, he was selected to play a girl during the Christmas concert square dance routine – the act was short one girl, and his teacher thought Terry’s tall, slender frame would be easiest to disguise. Despite his protests, his mother went to great lengths to sew a skirt and create a wig. Terry’s act was almost flawless – until the end when it was noted that under his skirt he was wearing woollen trousers and ankle boots.
Terry participated in the 4-H movement, and his interests in farming and livestock led to his studies in agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan. Following graduation in 1955, he returned briefly to the farm before joining SaskTel in 1960, where he enjoyed a 32-year career.
Terry’s lifelong interest in the arts brought much richness to his life. He worked with others to promote music in the community. He had a lovely singing voice and sang in a choir, which is where he met Hope, whom he married in 1970.
Their duet became a trio a few years later with the arrival of their son, Jason. Terry was a great dad. He could always be counted on to help build a better skateboard ramp, repair a damaged sandbox and take Jason for a day of adventure at the farm.
An active community member, Terry served as a member and chair of the church board and Kinsmen Club, and chaired the board of directors of the Melfort Credit Union. He was also a member of the credit union board in Thunder Bay. He always joked that after a two-year retirement, he became “retread” when a local security company noted his talent for wiring. Thus began a second career of 18 years as a security system installer. He loved working with his colleagues and only retired a second time when forced to do so by ill health.
Terry’s life was not all work – he and Hope enjoyed travelling to many parts of the world. A congenial companion, his quirky sense of humour and pleasant, outgoing personality are missed. After the many aspects of Terry’s life were illustrated in a slide show at his memorial service, a friend ended his comments with the phrase: “Not bad for a farm boy from Saskatchewan.”
Hope-Arlene Fennell is Terry’s wife.