December 6, 2023

Becoming Part of the Family: The Bernard “Bud” Terry Story


There was a time when Bernard “Bud” Terry was one of the fastest people in Michigan. He held the Vandercook High School record in the 100-yard dash before graduating in 1964.  From there, Bernard began to take his time with life, growing a loving family and becoming a minister at his church.

In 2021, things had to slow down even more. Bernard was diagnosed with cirrhosis from a fatty liver and two years later his daughter Tina said he took a turn for the worse.

“He wasn’t able to think and communicate the way we expected him to,” Tina said. “So, that was really hard… it was really important for us to have the opportunity to have somebody come in and help us. And so that’s where Jess came in.”

Jessica Brown is the Landmark Health nurse practitioner who was assigned to work with ‘Buddy’. She quickly bonded with the Terry family, and they appreciated her honesty and that she would go the extra mile, even answering questions during off hours.

Tina said, “It was just nice to know that I could call Jess or call somebody and say, ‘What do you think about this?’ And there were two or three times that she actually came and sent him to the hospital because he was that sick. And I was so glad that I didn’t have to make that decision.”

Bernard’s wife of 59 years, Clara Terry, says things like that made Jessica feel like part of the family.

A few months later, Bernard’s quick wit began to fade.  He died shortly after, at the age of 77.

The Terry’s felt their bond with Jessica was so strong, they invited her to the funeral.

Tina said the decision was an easy one. “He wanted them included in his life and wanted them to know that he was thinking about them. He would’ve wanted them there without question. He would’ve invited them himself if he could have, so that’s why I did.”

Being at the funeral was an honor for Jessica. She said, “I knew how much ‘Buddy’ meant to his family and how much his family meant to him. I had grown to love this family and enjoy our visits, and it was hard to say goodbye.”