Saturday, February 05, 2011

Terry Tenove (February 5, 1954 - August 19, 1978)

Funeral Service for Terrance Richard Tenove
  • Prelude Music, "Amazing Grace"
  • Welcome and Eulogy, by Scott Vanatter
  • Music, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother"
  • Remarks and Eulogy, by Abe Ohanian
  • Music, "Trees"
  • Prayer, by David Peale
  • Graveside Remarks, by Abe Ohanian
  • Prayer, by Mr. Douglass
[Welcome and Eulogy by Scott Vanatter]


We are gathered together to pay tribute to Terry; to extend our love and sympathy to his family, Mr. and Mrs. Tenove, his brothers Glen, Michael, Brian, and other relatives (including his grandmother, Dovie Belle Wales); and to comfort one another.

We've each had our own quiet reflective times alone in the past couple of days. We may need more, but for now, we meet together to find strength in our unity and fellowship.

Your presence and kindness is appreciated by Terry's family.


We all acknowledge that this is a difficult thing to understand. It takes time and patience to sort out our feelings on this tragic, untimely death.

Each of us has our own personal memories of him. Each of us knew him in a unique way. He was a friend to many.

My objective is to share some personal thoughts and memories of the Terry I knew.

When I remember Terry, the first thing that comes to mind is that Terry loved to have fun. Terry had the capacity to enjoy. To live. He thoroughly enjoyed life and things -- from baseball, to biology, to the blues.

Terry enjoyed winning. In sports he strove for excellence and achieved it.

Terry was courageous. When things didn't go quite right at Cal Poly, he took inventory of himself and had the courage to make a new start. He went to Citrus J.C., then back to Cal Poly to finish school in the area he enjoyed. Some might have quit. Not Terry.

His major was Agricultural Biology. You should have heard him when he came back from a vacation to Canada with his family. He was enthralled with the outdoors and its beauty. For these reasons Mrs. Tenove has set up the "Terry Tenove Memorial Tree Fund."

But some of us might also remember that Terry experienced some "hard luck" in his life. As the blues lyrics goes, "If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all." I bring this up to illustrate something about Terry. He wrecked the VW at least twice. He had an accident on his motorcycle and injured his foot. Other such things plagued Terry. Through it all he stuck it out. He saw it through. He remained flexible -- and likeable. One of those situations I helped create was a fight we has in Chemistry class. As we scuffled, beakers, test tubes, Bunsun Burners, and even a gas line were broken. The fight caused us to miss Spring training for football. (Terry had gone to quarterback camp during Easter vacation.) Someone told Mr. Brooks, vice principal at Duarte High, who used to play football for the Cleveland Brown, that “Tenove and Vanatter got in a fight!” Smiling and excited he replied, “Oh yeah, who with?” The reply, “Each other.” Frown. Was he disappointed. He expected us to be an example.

Most of us remember that Terry was a great (gifted and practiced) athlete.

Baseball was his first love. I never got a hit off him in Pony League. Did you ever see him pitch?! What an experience. But in football there are two things I remember that show his true self even better than the touchdown passes, or strikeouts, or the points he scored in basketball.

The first occurred our sophomore year in 1969. Coach Fessler gave Terry the responsibility of calling his own plays in the huddle. Roger Staubach of the World Champion Dallas Cowboys just got that responsibility last year. Terry was 15 years old. It was a heavy responsibility but he handled it. And with pleasure.

The second was in our senior year in 1971. Usually the quarterback on a football team is either a running quarterback or a passing quarterback. Terry was both. We ran the brand new Wishbone option. The quarterback takes the snap, sticks the football in the fullback's stomach and reads the defense. If the fullback is going to get tackled right away, Terry would pull out the ball and run down the line of scrimmage himself. If he himself is about to get tackled he would pitch the ball to the halfback. If not, he would run for yardage himself. (Alternatively, we might run a pass play on a sprint out, where he ran outside the pocket by design to throw to one of his receivers.) It is a difficult, complicated offense to run. (By the way, I caught the first first-down pass of our senior year. But it wasn’t me, it was him. He threw it so hard, it stuck in my facemask.)

Terry could handle heavy responsibility.

A final quick story about his family. One day, with his whole family, he was painting the eves of their house. This was neither fun, nor easy. Unexpectedly, I dropped by his house to pick him up to go do something. But he matter-of-factly and unabashedly let me know he was going to stay home to help his family. He felt responsible. I could tell.


Now, I loved Terry.

I admired Terry for his courage, his competitiveness, his capacity to enjoy life, and his ability to endure pain.

We are here to comfort one another. But there is another reason. It is to help us accept the reality of his death.

He is gone from our midst. We cannot bring him back. But we can honor his memory.

We loved him.

The Tenove family thought it fitting to bury Terry not wearing a tie. Casual. And easygoing. This is the Terry we knew and will remember.

Let us not dwell on the sadness of this situation, but rather let us be glad and thankful we knew him -- is my prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Funeral: Rose Hills Hillside Church, 3:45pm, Tuesday 22 August 1978.
Place of Internment: Rose Hills Cemetary, Gr. 4, Lot 14104, Lakeside


Scott Vanatter said...

Please see below for David Peale's closing prayer at Terry's funeral, and for Abe Ohanian's perfect eulogy for Terry.

Gina the Photographer said...

Thanks for posting this. It is the first time I have known what you said. I had to work that week. You really captured his spirit.

Scott Vanatter said...

You've gotta read Abe Ohanian's eulogy. He REALLY captured his spirit.

Brian Tenove said...

I have forgotten the kind words Scott put together that day so many years ago. I always remember that day but now find comfort in my own children. That competitive nature lives in all Tenove's. Thank you Scott

Brian Tenove

Scott Vanatter said...

Hi Brian,

I spent many, many hours with your brother Terry. I met Terry at Duarte's elementary school Olympics and at DYA's Little League, where he was always one of the star pitchers. We became best friends in 7th grade.

Through junior high, high school, and into college, we still remained the close friends. I did not spend much time with Glen, Michael, or you.

I can tell you that Becky and I were taken aback when we saw you walk to your car at the post-funeral gathering at my parent's house. It had been a few years since we last saw you. You had grown from a youth to a young man. As you walked down the street, we saw Terry in you. Your stature, your look. The way you carried yourself, the way you walked. We were astonished how much of Terry we saw in you.

Wish we could have gotten to know you better way back when (in the 60s and 70s).

Now, time and distance has further complicated things. However the Internet (and Facebook) has provided a way to re-connent. It is a blessing to do so.

Brian, I was fortunate to know your brother -- and your whole family. God bless you all.

Good to hear from you. Thanks for writing.