Terry Gaillard passed away peacefully at Bethany House in Auburn on August 27th after a long battle with dementia. Terry was born March 13, 1941 in Linden, Alabama. He was a loving husband and father and a great friend to many people. Terry moved to Auburn with his family when he was about a year old and spent the remainder of his life in Auburn. He loved Auburn. He knew every street, house and building in town and knew most of the people that lived and worked here for many years. Terry was fiercely dedicated to his family and loving wife, Gail, of 49 years before her passing in 2012. Terry and Gail knew each other while attending Auburn High School and married as college students while at Auburn University.
After attending Auburn, Terry became a small businessman owning and operating his own upholstery shop on Samford Avenue for many years. Then in 1973, Terry went to work for the Auburn post office where he would go on to spend the next 31 years as a dedicated letter carrier. He knew everyone on his route and was always quick to go out of his way to take care of people on his route that might be in need.
As a family man, he never missed a football game, baseball game, or gymnastics meet. Wherever his kids were competing he and mom were there. Coaching little league baseball at Felton Little Park, coaching flag football, sitting on the hill in a folding chair watching baseball at Duck Samford Park in the summer, sitting in the stands at Duck Samford stadium in the fall, watching gymnastics in the old wooden gymnastics facility at Auburn University, and finally back at Duck Samford stadium in the fall watching cheer. As a father he was always there, always present.
Terry loved the outdoors spending each fall hunting deer, each spring catching fish, and many hours in the summer flying radio controlled air planes. Deer hunting was his favorite pastime of all. He spent thousands of hours in tree stands all over Eastern Alabama and much of that time on his favorite hunting farm near Gold Hill. He knew every inch of the woods like the back of his hand, could read the woods like an open book and always knew where the big deer would be. He was a terrific teacher of all things outdoors and brought many people into hunting, fishing and building and flying radio-controlled airplanes.
Terry had a unique engineer’s mind. He could tear down and repair any engine or anything. He modified everything to meet his needs. He could envision alternatives to solve any problem and then design and build the solution. He embodied ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. To Terry, every piece of metal, cable, engine part, wheel, or scrap was something he could turn into a useful tool. He loved all things old and rarely bought anything new. He loved the challenge of getting an old engine to run or mower to cut and reveled in the satisfaction of his work.
Terry could, and would, talk to everyone he met or already knew. He was an extreme extravert and loved to tell a story even if the audience of that story had heard the same story many times over. He once told his grandson “a stranger is just a friend you have not met yet”. Terry truly lived his life that way. He also had no regard for anyone’s social status. If you worked hard and were a good person, he respected you. If you didn’t, he didn’t. He once saw former heavy weight boxing champion Mike Tyson in the Atlanta airport. He was standing next to him at the check in counter. Terry struck up a conversation with Mike and talked for 15 minutes as if he had known him forever. Terry had that way of making others comfortable and just having a conversation anywhere, anytime, about anything.
Terry was a husband, father, brother, uncle and friend. He had no regrets in this life and fully believed he had lived the best life he possibly could have lived. He will be greatly missed in this world by his friends and family. He is survived by son Mark and his wife Heather, daughter Lee and her husband Benji; grandchildren Morgan, John, Jenna and Mallory; brother John and his wife Marsha, sister Linda and her husband Jerry, brother in law Doug and wife Lynda.
Graveside services will be held at Auburn Memorial Park cemetery at 11:00 am on Monday, August 31, 2020 with Dr. Tripp Martin of Auburn First Baptist Church officiating.
Memorials may be directed to the Compassus Living Foundation (Auburn Bethany House) at https://compassuslivingfoundation.org/give/.
Jeffcoat-Trant Funeral Home of Opelika, AL is directing.