Terry Michael Wessinger

Born: Sun., Aug. 4, 1963
Died: Tue., May 21, 2019

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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, PhilippinesMombasa 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 1991Terry 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 SaturdayJune 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.    

MrWessinger 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.  Hretired 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.  


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Mark Burns
   Posted Wed May 22, 2019
Dear Barbara,
It was my pleasure working with Terry for several years at the SCDA,
all he ever talked about was his wife and boys.
I live in Clemson and send my sincerest regards to your family.
Mark Burns

Machael Peterson
   Posted Tue June 11, 2019
Words cannot express my sorry for your loss. Yes, husbands are sometimes taken too soon and we who are left behind find ourselves with a hole in our hearts that seem un-fillable. Please take comfort that though we may not understand, our Heavenly Father is always with us through it all and will guide you and your family as he leads us along this journey in His perfect peace.
May God bless you and comfort you,

Amy (Royals) Simmons
   Posted Tue June 11, 2019
Barbara and Family,

We are so sorry for your loss. Terry and I grew up in the same neighborhood, he was always a great person to be around. Terry will be missed by all that knew him. We will keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

Todd, Amy and Travis Simmons

   Posted Thu June 13, 2019
I was so sorry to hear about the passing of MSG Wessinger. He was a good man and great American. Praying for the family during this difficult time

Robert E Johnson
   Posted Thu June 13, 2019
Barbara and sons, It is an Honor to have sung at Terry's Military retirement gathering and getting to know him by way of phone calls and Barbara. I am happy that he Fight this fight well. May God's Peace be with you all each time you think of Terry.

Hazel Shull
   Posted Fri June 14, 2019
We are sorry to learn of Terry's passing. We pray that God will give you His peace and comfort during these difficult days. Hazel and Lonnie Shull, West Columbia First Baptist Church

Toby Harwell
   Posted Tue June 18, 2019
Barbara, I served in the same national guard unit with Terry for several years. Terry was one of the most thoughtful caring people I 've ever met. He left a positive influence on everyone that he encountered. I'm proud to have known him and served with him.