Deceased December 24, 2016
Such was Marsh Terry’s devotion to Southern Methodist University that he was called “Mr. SMU” in the headline of his obituary in the Dallas Morning News. Marsh, who transferred out of Amherst after freshman year, died of complications of Parkinson’s disease on Dec. 24, 2016, at the age of 85.
Marsh was born in Cleveland and came to Amherst from Cincinnati. At Amherst, he developed a reputation for figuring out what English 1 was about and drew classmates to his James Hall room seeking advice. Marsh went on to Kenyon College for a year and then headed to SMU in 1951. There, he found a home for life. He graduated from SMU with a bachelor’s degree in 1953 and earned a master’s degree in 1954.
He was the founder of SMU’s creative writing program, a popular creative writing teacher, a university administrator and the author of a dozen novels during his 50-year presence at the Dallas school. He is credited with playing a role in shaping the school and writing its master plan, which honed the university curriculum and educational philosophy.
In a tribute to Marsh, SMU President Gerald Turner said: “He will forever be remembered as an SMU treasure whose legacy will live on through his own acclaimed work and the writing of his students and others whose work he influenced over generations.”
Marsh is survived by his wife, Antoinette Barksdale Terry; daughters Antoinette of Los Angeles and Mary of Atlanta; and four grandchildren.
George Gates ’53