Dorothy (Dody) Elva Risberg Terry

January 7, 2020


Dorothy (Dody) Elva Risberg Terry, 71, left her earthly journey peacefully on January 7th, 2020 to the loving arms of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Dorothy was born January 23rd, 1948, the 3rd child of five, in Cleveland, OH to Robert and Virginia Risberg. She graduated from Cleveland Shaw High School in 1966. She attended The Ohio State University finishing her studies in 1972 with a BA in Early Childhood Development and continued with graduate course work at the Bank Street College of Education in New York City.

     Dody returned to her hometown of Cleveland to teach preschool and kindergarten where she met the love of her life, the Reverend Richard B. Terry. They were married on December 11th, 1976 in Lyndhurst, OH and settled in Cleveland Heights before moving to Akron and starting a family. In Akron, she worked at The University of Akron Placement Office and after the birth of her two eldest boys, she opened a home daycare. She loved working with children and introducing them to music and the arts. Dody was a special friend to many and a renaissance woman with diverse talents and interests. She had a wonderful sense of humor, a bright, beautiful smile and infectious laugh.

     After her husband was called into ministry as a pastor, she embraced supporting him in the church, first in Keene, New Hampshire, and later in Chillicothe, OH where her family settled in 1993 and lived for 26 years. The joy of her life was raising her four children in her church community in Chillicothe, leading the children’s music ministry and singing in the church choir, first at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and later Good Shepherd Anglican Church.

     In her fifties, she returned to school to earn a degree as a licensed massage therapist. She ministered to many with her healing touch and especially took interest in geriatric massage.  She also spent many year’s substitute teaching in the Chillicothe school system. Dody possessed a brilliant mind, was a lifelong avid reader and nature lover, and was a talented singer, pianist and guitarist. She had a larger than life personality, always dressed with a keen sense of style, and connected with people deeply and intimately. She had dear friends from all walks of life and always managed to see the greater good in everyone. Anyone in need could rely on her to patiently listen and offer hope and encouragement. She truly heeded the Lord’s decree in Matthew 25: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

     She is survived by her loving husband of 43 years, the Reverend Richard B. Terry, her four beloved children and their spouses who affectionately called her “Mommo”, Martin (Virginia) Terry, 39, Andrew (Tabitha) Terry, 37, Evan (Jandra) Terry, 35, and daughter Joanna (Chris) Lucas, 30, and eleven grandchildren, Samuel, Flora and John (Martin), Graciela, Camila and Andrew (Andrew), James (Evan), and Makenna, Ava, Leo and baby to be (Joanna).

     Also surviving are her dear sisters and their spouses, Linda (Robert Cook), Mary (Robert Kahelin), Ruthi (Robert Duale) and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews. Dody enjoyed lifelong close relationships with her sisters who were also her best friends. She was preceded in death by her late brother Martin Davidson (Linda).

     Calling hours and viewing will be on Friday, January 10th, 2020 from 6pm-8pm at Ware Funeral Home, 121 West 2nd St. in Chillicothe, OH. A Celebration of Life will take place on Saturday, January 11th at 12:00pm at Trinity United Methodist Church, 24 South Mulberry St. in Chillicothe. Reception immediately to follow.  A private family burial will occur after the reception.

And as Mommo would often say, “Onward and Upward!”

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