Terry Michael Wessinger
On his Facebook page was a quote by Terry that epitomized the essence of his life…he wrote:
“I am a stranger to no one! I am happy just to be alive! I am blessed with a great family and many friends! Life is good!!”
He was born in Columbia, SC and lived in Cayce most of this life. He had the good fortune of having two mothers who loved him very much. He attended both Brookland Cayce (BC) and Airport High Schools and had so many friends. He had a memory like a steel trap. Once when we were at the Bomber Baseball game he walked over to a young lady and ask her if she was in his kindergarten class …..20 or more years before. She had and they reminisced for a long time. He never forgot a face and that was amazing. In high school, he drove a corvette and did doughnuts with it in the BC parking lot. He loved his corvette and dreamed of restoring it. During high school he was on the bowling team. Watching him throw the bowling ball was an art….he would get strike after strike. He was good at it.
In September 1984, Terry joined the Navy. He was given the opportunity of selecting the city where he would be stationed for 4 years of active duty: Charleston, San Diego or Hawaii. He selected San Diego because he could see more places that just an island. He drove his corvette to San Diego. He met Barbara while he was stationed there. He was assigned to a Destroyer named the USS Fife. While on the USS Fife, he did a 6 month West Pac and travelled to Hawaii, Philippines, Mombasa Kenya, Seychelles Island, crossing over the equator, then to Seattle, Vancouver. In 1986, after returning from the West Pac, he married Barbara and in 1988 he moved back to Cayce and switched to the Navy Reserves. While in the Navy Reserves, he did a 2 week tour in the Caribbean and went to Venezuela and Panama. He spent several days of R&R on the Cayman Islands.
In 1991, Terry used the GI bill to attend USC and earned 2 degrees in 4 years (biology and psychology). He then entered graduate school to earn a master’s degree in environmental sciences. He was working on his thesis when Myles, his first son, was born. Terry worked for a number of environmental companies and eventually was hired by the S.C. Dept. of Agriculture (SCDA). He worked for the SCDA for 28 years: first in the Petroleum lab, then Seed, Food Compliance and Metrology labs. He always volunteered to work the SCDA’s booth at the SC State Fair.
In 1997, Terry was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After undergoing numerous chemotherapy treatments, he went into remission. He never took a day off from work, even after his chemo treatment. He did not want it to defeat him.
Soon after he recovered from cancer, Terry transferred from the Navy to the SC Army National Guard and, with the Guard, was deployed three times (once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan). Each deployment was a grueling 18 months away from home. On his deployments, he travelled to other countries such as Germany, Dubai, and Kurdistan. While in Dubai, he rode the elevator to the top floor of the tallest building in the world. Terry loved the military. He prided himself on passing his PT tests. Terry was honorably discharged from the Guard in December 2018 as a Master Sergeant (E8) after 35 years of service. He wanted to continue in the military longer but his health got the better of him.
Terry was married to Barbara for 32 years and was blessed with three sons, Myles, Trenton and Sterlyn, who he loved with all his heart. He loved hunting, fishing and camping with his family. He travelled with his family over the years to San Diego several times, to Napa Valley and San Francisco, down Highway 101 in California, road trips to Las Vegas, Hollywood, to Baja California, New York, Washington DC, Maine to Niagara Falls, cruise to Belize, Bahamas, Costa Mar, Cozumel, and Isle of Roaten, camping on Blue Ridge Parkway, touring Biltmore, camping at SC state parks, especially Edisto Island, and trip with grandparents to Key West. Being with his family was his pride and joy. He wanted the best for them. He was a great father and husband. His life was too short. He will be greatly missed.
Funeral services for Terry Michael Wessinger, 55, will be held Saturday, June 15, at Transfiguration Lutheran Church, 1301 12th Street, Cayce. Visitation will be held from 1 to 2:45 pm, followed by service at 3 pm.
Mr. Wessinger passed away on May 21, 2019. He was born in Columbia, SC and was the son of the late Shirley Braswell Wessinger, Harold Wendell Wessinger and Joyce Crosby Burriss. He retired after 28 years with the SC Dept. of Agriculture and after 35 years with the military (14 years with the Navy and 21 years with the SC National Guard).
Surviving him are his wife, Barbara M. Wessinger, and sons Myles A. Wessinger, Trenton G. Wessinger, and Sterlyn M. Wessinger of Cayce, brothers Tommy Burriss (Christi) and Hank Burriss (Sherri). Memorials may be made to Transfiguration Lutheran Church, 1301 12th Street, Cayce, SC 29033.