Deceased February 17, 2007
Benjamin P. Terry, former CEO and president of the Society for Savings, died February 17, 2007, in Essex, CT. He was a resident of Essex and before that Old Lyme and West Hartford. In 1983, he met and married Marjorie Miller, who survives him. The Terrys also had a summer home in South Lyme at Hatchett’s Point. He was born September 8, 1915, in Melrose, MA, to the late Herbert and Lillian Terry. He was previously married to Dorothy Yeomans Graulty.
Ben made his mark at Amherst by winning the coveted position of manager of the football team. As a senior, he was tapped for Scarab, the senior honor society. After graduating, he served as a lieutenant in the US Navy during World War II and worked as assistant chief of staff to Admiral Arthur Radford in charge of the Naval Air Training Command in Chicago. Near the end of his navy career, Ben showed his spirit of enterprise by writing letters of introduction to a dozen or more leading business men asking for an interview and the possibility of post-war employment; about half of them answered his letter. One businessman gave Ben the propitious advice to get into financial work because virtually all banks had stopped recruiting new help since the beginning of the Great Depression.
Ben began his Hartford business career in 1937 as an assistant to the CEO of the Traveler’s Insurance Company. In 1959, he joined the Society for Savings in Hartford as vice president and head of investments. He was promoted to executive vice president in 1962 and chief executive officer and president in 1967. The Hartford Courant said that Mr. Terry’s most significant career achievement during his twelve-year tenure as chief executive officer was spearheading a successful lobbying campaign through the Connecticut Legislature; that legislation permitted thrift institutions to offer checking accounts and, thus, compete more effectively with commercial banks.
In addition to his stewardship of the bank, Mr. Terry played a prominent role in Hartford’s civic, business and religious communities throughout the ’70s and ’80s. Known by business colleagues and associates as “Mr. Hartford,” he was a director, trustee or officer in the following organizations: Boys Club of Hartford, Connecticut Business and Industry Association, Connecticut Institute for the Blind, the Convention and Visitors Commission, the Downtown Council, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, the Greater Hartford Chamber of Commerce, the Hartford Club, Hartford Hospital, the Institute of Living, Mount Sinai Hospital, the Old State House, Saint Francis Hospital, the University of Hartford and Winsted Memorial Hospital.
His love of sports led to membership and leadership roles in the Hartford Golf Club, the Old Lyme Country Club, Black Hall Country Club and the Hartford Tennis Club. A trustee of Kingswood-Oxford School, he was also an active member and deacon of Asylum Hill Congregational Church and the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme where he served in leadership capacities for many years.
In addition to his wife, Marjorie, Ben leaves three sons, David Y. Terry and his wife, Suzanne; Benjamin C. Terry and his wife, Carol; Christopher B. Terry and a daughter, Diane E. Terry. He also leaves one stepson, Charles C. Miller, and two stepdaughters, Susan M. Hayward and Nancy M. Easter. Mr. Terry leaves fourteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Throughout his professional career and in his private life, he was known as a leader, catalyst and organizer who was passionate about his family and community. In all his relationships, he was the consummate gentleman. His clear eyes communicated gifts of listening, laughter, wisdom and adventure. He deeply loved Amherst and will be dearly missed.
Gordon Ewen ’37