Terry Seaman Osborne, 60, died September 7, 2020 at the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care after a bravely-fought year-long illness. Terry’s family would like to express deep gratitude for the care given by Terry’s entire medical team at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and the JBC.
Terry is survived by his wife, Mary Kay Beach “MK”, his sons Carry and Jacob Osborne, step-children Max and Hillary Beach, brother Peter Seaman (Nini), sisters Marion Seaman (Nikitas Kypridemos) and Annie Colquhoun (John), nieces and nephews (JJ, Tina, Blake, Ashley, and Alexis), cousins, and stepmother Barbara Seaman. Terry was predeceased by his mother June Carry Seaman and father Irving Seaman, Jr.
Terry grew up in Lake Forest, IL, attended Hotchkiss, received his undergraduate degree, cum laude, from Princeton and earned a master's degree with honors in English and American literature from the University of Chicago. Terry was the author of "Sightlines: The View of a Valley Through the Voice of Depression," published in 2001. He wrote articles, essays, and book reviews and edited mentor and friend Noel Perrin's 2006 book, "Best Person Rural." Terry cherished his time living in the Vermont farmhouse that had previously been owned by Noel Perrin.
Terry was a particularly proud father to Carry and Jacob. He was their devoted youth sports coach, tree-house architect, and academic confidante. He became a steadfast advocate of Carry’s doctoral work in philosophy, always reading and engaging with Carry’s less-than-accessible published research. For Jacob, Terry became the most consistent and encouraging face in the crowd at countless theater performances—sometimes driving hours or flying across the country to watch Jacob on stage. In this spirit, Terry enthusiastically showed up for all the kids: Carry, Jacob, Max, and Hillary, at games, concerts, plays, graduations, etc.
Terry was a Teacher in all he did. At Dartmouth since 1986, he was a senior lecturer in the Environmental Studies Program and the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric. His work connected literature, composition, the natural world, and American constructions of identity. He examined the role our psyches play in affecting the health of the planet, and reciprocally, the effect the degradation of the natural world has on our psyches.
Very aware of a sense of place, Terry shepherded his students out of the classroom and into the natural world. And, as an early adopter of community-based learning, Terry introduced his students to the surrounding towns in the Upper Valley through work with local non-profit organizations. Terry was an inspirational supporter of Abenaki language gatherings. He knew it is important to recognize the Native land on which we all live.
In 2017, when Terry received the Dean of the Faculty Teaching Award, he mused on his inspirations—his students, colleagues, and the beauty of the Upper Valley: “I've come to believe that the way humans are taught to perceive the environment determines how we treat it.”
For Terry, the environment, conservation, and birding went hand-in-hand. Terry and MK would often sit on their deck, with Mount Ascutney in view, or walk their fields and woods, to delight in the vast number of species on their property. Terry and MK also traveled for birding: to Wisconsin where they witnessed the fall migration of Sandhill Cranes, to Monhegan Island where their travel group identified over a hundred different species, and to the Bahamas where they admired the Parrots on Abaco and the severely endangered Bahama Oriole on Andros. Their Galapagos trip was a dream come true, and, in 2018, Terry achieved a bucket list wish to walk on the Greenland ice sheet when he and MK traveled to the Arctic.
Balancing inner and outer worlds, Terry was drawn to ancient traditions. He co-founded and regularly attended Wednesday morning Mindfulness at Dartmouth, and served as adviser to the Student Mindfulness Group. The Long Wind Tai Chi community was also very close to Terry’s heart. MK and Terry were both long-time students of Tai Chi, and Terry regularly substitute-taught classes when the master teachers were away.
Hockey was an important part of Terry’s life. He loved the camaraderie, the physicality, and the athleticism of the game. A dear friend and fellow player said, “He was like running into an oak tree...you might try to get around him but he put out these huge branches and just put a stop to you...always friendly and always so skilled. He was wonderful to play with and play against.”
Terry did not want a large memorial service; instead he preferred that you gather organically in small groups, or that you reflect alone. Walk the land. Gaze at the night sky. Listen. See. Observe. Meditate. Be curious. What’s out there? What’s in here? Hold Sacred Space.
If you wish to make a donation in Terry’s memory, please visit the Donations page on this site. Please also leave a remembrance or message in our Guest Book, and add to our public photo album.