Muriel Terry


May 29, 1920 – June 6, 2016

Muriel Terry of Blaine passed away at her daughter’s home in Portland. She grew up in Riverside, IL. In 1941 she married Dan Terry who was on leave from the Merchant Marine supporting the Allied effort in Europe. After the war, Dan and Muriel loaded belongings in a dump truck and drove west until they found salt water and settled in Blaine at a small farm on Drayton Harbor Road.

Small farm life was the ideal environment to raise 3 kids. Mike, Pete and Susie were seldom inside during daylight. Animal antics and the tractor made chores interesting, and homemade kites, bows and arrows, high-powered model planes, sailing and water skiing, scouting and Rainbow were shared with neighborhood kids. Muriel had a garden to go with her orchard, and she loved to cook and sew.

In 1950, Muriel ‘shook’ crab at Alaska Packers so that Dan could complete teacher training at Western. After he began teaching at Blaine, she did the same and her first student teaching position was at Custer Junior High, the subject was ‘Local Beach Knowledge’ which included a field trip to Larrabee State Park where oysters were gathered, taken back to the classroom and eaten raw. Certain locals still talk about that!

By 1956 Dan had enjoyed a few years teaching math and chemistry at Blaine High School, when Muriel applied for a position at the junior high. When they were told policy prevented a couple teaching at the same school, they drove south to Belfair to check out 2 open positions. The school board quickly dropped the restriction and hired Muriel as the new Washington State History teacher.

In 1963 Blaine hired a dozen ‘rookie’ teachers on a tight budget, among them one of those former Custer Junior High boys. They were always welcome at Dan and Muriel’s home for potluck meals and ‘teacher mentoring’. A few even lived in their basement, notably Pat and Patty Alesse who were also advised that developing a (candy shop) C-Shop in Birch Bay, would be a financial disaster.

In 1969, they built a second home in Friday Harbor, sold it in 1978 and purchased a home in Clearwater, FL which Muriel remodeled after Dan died in 1981. She lived there until 1992 when the family joined her at the original Blaine property to build the new house she had designed, not knowing that the state had previously forced the county to change the zoning, effectively making the properties in that section worthless rather than an investment. For the next 10 years, then into her 80’s, her full time job was organizing the neighbors and leading the effort to restore the zoning. Most county officials knew her on a first name basis, and county council members joined neighborhood meetings on her front deck.

Muriel was preceded in death by her husband Dan in 1981. She is survived by sons Mike (Nancy) of Blaine, Pete (Rona) of Blaine, and daughter Susan (Judy) of Portland, 8 grandchildren, and 7 (soon to be 9) great grandchildren.

You are invited to bring your memories to a celebration of Muriel’s life on Friday, August 12 at Cannery Lodge in Semiahmoo Park from 3 p.m. to ‘when we finish’. Any donations may be directed to your local hospice. For additional information call 360-224-9698 or email

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