Rachel Terry, in her 104th year, tiptoed into heaven on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018, at the home of her daughter, Ms. Terese Terell, in Mansfield, Ohio.

Terry was born Aug. 27, 1914, and while a baby her parents moved to Columbus, Ohio. As a toddler, Terry lost both of her parents and spent most of her early years in the Franklin County Children’s Home in Columbus, Ohio. She graduated Columbus East High School in 1934 and married Edwin Carter. She subsequently married Andrew Terry.

She worked in Curtis Wright Airplane factory during World War II and after her fourth child she completed her degree in nursing and worked nearly 40 years in hospitals, nursing homes and private duty nursing in Ohio.

Terry visited the islands regularly from 1963, and in the late 1970s she moved to St. Thomas to make her home with her daughter, Toya Andrew.

She resumed her nursing career in the Knud Hansen Hospital Emergency Room. She put in many long nights riding in the broken door ambulance, holding on to patients to keep them from rolling out. Terry made friends every place and on every occasion. When she retired from nursing, she was one of the lucky seniors who became "greeters" at the Harry S. Truman Airport, earning the title of the original “ V.I. Rum Queen”. With a few other seniors, she gave out rum samples at the Truman Airport in her island regalia, dancing and smiling, laughing and "chatting up" the tourists.

Terry drove the island in her pink jeep, picking up hitchers and finding new things to plant in her garden and in pots around the house. She planted everything (including poison ivy) and it all would grow heartily. She would sew and make anything she set her mind to, costumes to wedding dresses, stained glass art and suncatchers, hope chest and cane-webbed stools.

She was a faithful and energetic dancer with the Mungo Niles Cultural Dancers. She traveled to D.C. and many places stateside and down island over many years with the cultural dancers.

Terry brought energy to the Senior Citizens in Action community center (Sam King). She won the V.I. Ms. Golden Age crown, and in 1986 was the first Ms. V.I. Ms. Senior America to compete in the National Senior America Pageant.

She played the steel pan. She was a participating member of the Friends of Denmark and travelled there and hosted her Danish friends in her St. Thomas home. She sang with the Caribbean Chorale, exercised and line danced with Florida Good Samaritan residents and Masons conventions attendees. Her mindset was “it's better to wear out than to rust out.”

Terry was a member of the Order of the Eastern Stars Chapter No. 3 in Columbus, Ohio, for more than 85 years and the Daughters of Isis Chapter No. 75. She continued to attend meetings until October 2018 when it became difficult to travel long distances.

Hurricanes Hugo, and then Marilyn, required that she relocate to Long Beach, Calif., then Kissimmee, Fla., and finally to the home of her daughter, Terese Terell, in Mansfield, Ohio, but she remained active and in touch with her many friends. She loved a party and had not missed a carnival since 1963. She participated in her last carnival parade two years ago when her queen’s convertible stopped in Grand Hotel Square and three governors came into the street to dance with her and admitted they could not keep up.

Terry is survived by three daughters, Toya Andrew, St. Thomas, V.I.; Terese Terell, Mansfield, Ohio, Tonita Mendenhall, Columbus, Ohio, and one son, Brian Carter, (wife Careen) Oakland, Calif.; one stepdaughter, Alisa Bradley, Columbus, Ohio, nine grandchildren, Hal "Skip" (Lisa) Williams, Teri R. Williams-Smith, Ashana Andrew (Michael) O'connell, Arica Dennis, Valencia Dent, Dax Mendenhall, Brian Lewis, Brian Carter Jr., Amiee Carter and 13 great-grandchildren, Mark (Courtney) and Johnathan Williams, Taylor Smith, Morgan, Muirrin, Anahoe and Lowell O'connell, Ki’Jana and Johnathan Mendenhall; Nate Jr., and Mershon Dent; three great-great-grandchildren, Samara and Ezra Williams and Isaiah Mendenhall; adopted sons and daughters, including Dr. Lawrence Benjamin, and her special friend, Clarence Mclure of Long Beach, Calif.

She was preceded in death by four former husbands and her husband Richard Hawkins, two stepchildren, Robert and Nancy Terry; her grandson, Mark "Chip” Williams; and her son-in-law, Arthur L Andrew.

A celebration of Life will be held at a later date on the beach on St Thomas, V.I., where friends and family will thank God and gather to dance and acknowledge her life well lived. Cards may be sent, c/o Toya Andrew, P.O. Box 303648, St. Thomas 00803

In lieu of flowers, friends are encouraged to send flower and tree seeds to the same address for planting on St. Thomas. Terry believed that, “your mind is a garden, your thoughts are the seeds, You can grow flowers or you can grow weeds.”

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