OBITUARY: Rev. Terry Clay Thomason, 89

MEREDITH, NH — Terry Clay Thomason of Meredith Bay Colony Club in Meredith, NH, passed away on Friday, November 26, 2021 at the age of 89, after struggling with congestive heart failure for many years.

Terry was born in Oklahoma on February 20, 1932 to father W. Ray Thomason and mother Ruby H.G. Thomason, also of Oklahoma. Terry married his first wife, Marilyn Jean Thomason (nee Dillingham) August 8, 1952, in Oklahoma. They had one child, Jae “JJ” Jesse Lee (nee Nancy Elise Thomason). Terry married a second time after Marilyn passed away. He and Nancy Bodenstein (nee Miller) were married on February 18, 1994, in a small, family ceremony in their home in Meredith, NH. From that marriage, Terry embraced two step-children, Paula K. Clearwater (nee Bodenstein) and Scott Edward Bodenstein, as well as two daughters-in-law, one through JJ, Mary Minten, and through Paula, Chris Clearwater (nee Ferrarra).

Terry, a United Methodist minister, served parishes in Stratford, Oklahoma; El Paso, Texas; Kingston, New Hampshire; Oakdale, Massachusetts; Wilmington, Massachusetts; and Watertown, Massachusetts. In 1968, Bishop James Matthews appointed Terry to run the Preachers’ Aid Society and the Treasurer’s Office of the United Methodist Church’s New England Conference. Terry loved his work in that capacity and found that it combined his calling as a minister and his talents as a money manager for the good of his fellow ministers and their families. He enjoyed the hubbub of Copley Square, the location of the church’s headquarters at that time.

After retiring from the ministry, Terry was Senior Vice President at The Common Fund, an asset management firm for nonprofits and other institutions. Terry always believed that his ministry and his money management gifts were interconnected. He would often quote from this scripture: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” When Terry retired from his work at The Common Fund, he would joke that he was busier in retirement than in either of his careers.

Terry was known by friends, family, and others as “kind, generous, and successful.” As one friend put it “always in the know, smart enough to marry two good women, an advocate for the poor, disadvantaged, and groups of people who need a voice; humorous.” His wife Nancy wanted people to know, “Terry and I remained very much in love throughout our lives together. I was honored to be his wife. We were always hand in hand whether walking to the dining room, riding in the car, or going any place. I was grateful to be holding his hand when he passed.” His daughter JJ describes him as “truly my inspiration. When I’m not sure of my way, I ask WWDD — What Would Dad Do? He is my moral imperative in this mixed up world. His integrity and ethics are a legacy that I hope to carry to the folks to whom I minister through my counseling practice — so many of them adrift because they did not have the good fortune to grow up a Thomason. He was the model of mental, emotional, and spiritual flexibility, continually growing and transforming his perspectives rather than cementing old ones.” His daughter-in-law states, “When I think of Terry, I think of his extraordinary generosity — materially and spiritually. He has a great kindness of heart and a wonderful way of championing those he loves. I am so blessed to be part of his family.” Mary recalled a fun example of his humor combined with his immediacy and giving nature: “No one understood my urgent need to experience chocolate peanut butter pie. Within hours of him describing the pie and my eyes lighting up, he had us at the restaurant ordering the legendary dessert.”

To know Terry, a true Pisces, was to know that water was as life-giving to him as air is to the rest of us. He shared his love of house-boating with almost everyone he knew. Similarly, he had a passion for cruising. He enjoyed almost 100 cruises in his lifetime spanning every continent. At the time of his death, he had been planning a family cruise, but that journey was exchanged for his celestial one. Terry was so much larger than life and he leaves a titanic hole in many lives. He was extremely philanthropic and will be missed by the animal kingdom, the human species, and the aliens that didn’t take him up (only a few knew that he would have probably traded all of his seafaring adventures for a step aboard an extraterrestrial spacecraft).

A celebration of life will be held on January 29, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Humane Society or the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) would be appreciated.

For more information contact JJ Lee at

Rev. Terry Clay Thomason

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