Terence C. D'Souza M.D.
May 19, 1950 – July 1, 2019
Dr. Terence C. D’Souza was a man who lived multiple lives and touched a multitude more. He was rarely prone to hyperbole as almost all his seemingly tall tales were, in fact, true stories. He lived like a folk hero who inspired greatness, instilled hope, and gave reason to celebrate a better tomorrow built on the friendships you create.
He was born in India and spent much of his time between Goa, where he fell in love with the tranquil beaches and endless night sky, and Bombay, where he reveled in the noise of the city and chased the nights till sunrise. This dichotomy would become part of his personality; at once calm and peaceful, content with a quiet moment, this was measured in equal by long and loud nights surrounded by friends, balanced with a devotion to his study of medicine.
Terence earned his medical degree from the Armed Forces Medical College of India. Shortly after, he met the love of his life, Bernadette Gomes, a strong-willed, confident woman who helped raise her seven siblings after her father’s untimely passing. Terence listened intently as she spoke of her dreams and ambitions — fulfilling them became a lifelong mission for them both.
His singular goal of finding the beautiful opportunities he only read about in America brought him to New York, six dollars in hand. He worked the newsstands of subways underneath a city that resonated with his spirit whilst awaiting his residency assignment as a doctor. Soon New Orleans came calling, the slow humid city that never slept reminded him of the best of both his homes in India. He interned at Charity Hospital and completed residencies in Psychiatry at LSU Medical Center and in Neurology at Tulane University. Never once, however, did he forget Bernadette. It was here that tragedy first struck.
After contracting a rare illness, Terence fell into a coma that many perceived irrecoverable. Only a meticulously kept journal of his symptoms and self-diagnosis discovered by his roommate provided a path to revival. From out of this coma, Terence came back with renewed purpose, perhaps touching the light and turning away, knowing that he had much more to do. He wasted little time and returned to Bernadette, who was now working at a hospital in Tehran, Iran. They married, surrounded by a small group of close friends. Together, they returned to New Orleans where they finally began their lives as husband and wife.
Shortly after her arrival and a Rolling Stones concert later, their son, Lloyd, was born. Though long hours in residency kept him at work, he found time at night to place his son in front of a formidable stereo system to blast the records he loved. Terence joined the Department of Neurology at Tulane Medical School and was the Chief Resident. Because of his excellence in teaching, the medical students bestowed on him the Owl Club Award for Teaching.
Post residency, and board certified in Neurology and Psychiatry, he started a private practice with Dr. Michael Wilensky. This was followed by the birth of his daughters, Vanessa and then Christine. Both of them became diamonds in his eyes - he found it easier to walk with them wrapped around each leg than without. He would brush their hair at length as if they were his princesses and treat their needs as a reason for being. Beyond his own family, Terence worked to secure passage to America for his siblings Trevor, Tressie and Trudy, as well as the siblings of his wife. A good life, to him, meant being surrounded by family and their mutual successes. Through this, he kept focus on his professional pursuits and was very involved with the New Orleans Neurological Society, serving as its President.
Terence never forgot his promise to help Bernadette pursue her own ambitions, and he encouraged her to attend law school after their youngest child entered kindergarten. Long work hours at night and loving devotion in the evening resulted in another encounter with the light, reminding him he dodged it once before. He would fight through it, with the care of his wife, and would find renewed purpose once again as she continued to grow and achieve so much.
She would become the rock that he unexpectedly needed through the passing of both his mentor of a father and his eternally loving mother. In turn, Terence would support Bernadette through her law career and urged her to run for office. And when she became a Judge he knew the work had only begun for her and offered her unending support.
By this point his children had found their way through college and into successful careers, inspired by the strength, intelligence, and drive of their parents. Terence, now content that his family was on the right path, moved from the grind of private practice to join Ochsner Clinic Foundation as a Sr. Neurologist. He was exceptionally knowledgeable in both his fields (Neurology and Psychiatry) and was acknowledged as such by being named New Orleans Magazine’s Top Doctors & Castle Connolly’s Regional Top Doctors. But his greatest accomplishment was the joy of his wife, children and grandchildren. His reward was enjoying time with family and friends.
While he would still regale everyone with tales of his road races in the Tanzanian bush before he arrived to America, of his long nights in New York, of his ability to not sleep and still run a marathon the next day with shoes that were falling apart, his favorite story was the one playing out right in front of him, watching his family in New Orleans grow.
Vanessa married Michael DePetrillo and had two boys of their own, Aidan and Dylan, in New Orleans. Christine married David Gelb, and they are now expecting their first child in Los Angeles. His son created a life in Los Angeles and now finds himself building on that success in a city that Terence was continually drawn to - New York. Terence experienced wonderful moments with his family, like dancing with both daughters on their wedding nights in New Orleans, teaching his grandsons, through chess, that most problems can be solved in four moves or less, spending early mornings on the waters of Louisiana fishing with his son and traveling the world with his wife. His sons-in-law became his best friends. His best friends in life became his brothers.
Perhaps most impactful, he became an adored grandfather to Aidan and Dylan, affectionately known as “Papa.” He treasured long weekends relaxing in his garden, an oasis where he would patiently teach his grandchildren and work with them on planting, pruning and all of his other green thumb successes. He constantly made them laugh with his silly antics, amused with his magic tricks, and created everlasting memories with them, whether at the Dome for Saints game or attending a school performance. He was and will always be a hero in their eyes.
In the end, New Orleans had become his true home. From Sunday Brunches at Commander’s Palace, his joy at Jazz Fest and riding in parades at Mardi Gras, Terence embraced life in a city that was like no other place on the wide Earth that he traveled. As he turned his eye to his own personal passions he continued to pursue his love of cinema, stamp collecting, exploring new computer technologies, creating piano sonatas from empty staffs and having his paintings featured at a showing at the New Orleans Museum of Art. For the people around him he was a calming influence. His patients loved him dearly and considered him a friend. His friends sought his counsel in times of need where he would provide a temperance few could offer as if they were family. His family saw him as a smile, an infectious laugh, or a much needed embrace when facing any adversity.
And in this moment after avoiding the light so long, it found him in a place he found the most peace. A yearly trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, a place he loved as it reminded him of the beaches in Goa, ended in a third visit from the light. He surrendered to heaven’s warm embrace, surrounded by family.
His passing was not as he intended or hoped. The flame of his life that had lit up many lives around him, burned so brightly and quickly. He will be dearly missed. But in the minds of so many people, the story of Terence’s life challenged themselves to be better, to do more, to give more, and to love more. And for that reason he will live forever.
Terence C. D’Souza, M.D. passed away on July 1, 2019 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Terence is survived by his wife of 41 years Honorable Bernadette Gomes D’Souza; children Lloyd D’Souza, Vanessa D’Souza and her husband Michael DePetrillo, and Christine D’Souza Gelb and her husband David Gelb; and grandsons Aidan and Dylan DePetrillo; siblings Trevor D’Souza and wife Cynthia, Tressie Dalaya and husband Arun, Trudy Correia and husband Llewellyn; and also loved by a host of in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Terence is preceded in death by his parents, Ignatius and Innocence D’Souza and his in laws, Anthony and Esmeralda Gomes. Relatives and friends are invited to attend the Visitation at 10:00am on Tuesday, July 9, 2019 at Holy Name of Jesus Church, 6367 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, followed by a Funeral Mass at 12:00 pm celebrated by the Rev. Father Stephen Rowntree, S.J. In lieu of flowers, please celebrate Terence’s memory by donating to the Ochsner Neuroscience Innovation Fund. Mail checks to 1514 Jefferson Hwy. BH 607, New Orleans, LA 70121 or give online by visiting giving.ochsner.org and choosing the Tribute tab.
- Visitation Tuesday, July 9, 2019
- Funeral Mass Tuesday, July 9, 2019
Terence C. D'Souza M.D.
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July 23, 2019
I am deeply sadden by the passing of Dr. D'Souza. He was my neurologist for over 30 years. He understood the horrible pain I suffered with horrible migraines. My prayers and condolences to his family. Dr. D'Souza you were the best please watch over your family and your patients.
July 16, 2019
Today, I got the news of the passing of Dr. D'Sousa. He was my mom's physician for the past two years. He had a wonderful bedside manner and a very warm and caring spirit. She is hearrbroken to hear of his passing. He was one of her favorites. I actually referred someone to him earlier this year. He felt he was not the correct physician for their needs, so he gave them their money back. That was the kind soul that he was. We will miss him! My mom and I lift his family and friends in prayer.❤
July 16, 2019
I just learned of Dr. D'souza's passing today and I am absolutely devastated. He has been my neurologist for over five years, starting with followup treatment for a concussion and then treating the migraines I've dealt with my entire life. He was so calm, practical, and welcoming. I will miss him very much.
July 14, 2019
He was the best doctor I ever had. He had the sweetest disposition and really made me feel comfortable. He spoke with such gentleness and concern you could feel how much he cared about you not only as a patient but as a person. I don’t think I’ll ever find another doctor like him. He will truly be missed.
July 11, 2019
I just returned from my home town of Santo Domingo and just read the obituary of the untimely death of you husband.
Please accept my deepest condolence at this sad time. I feel honored to have known him. He always had a big smile for me. May his soul RIP
July 10, 2019
Our loving sister Busha,
children : Lloyd, Vanessa, Christine,
Our deepest and heartfelt condolences to you all and your extended family on the sad demise of our brother in law Terry whom we were very proud of and looked at him with love, respect and appreciation. Terry holds a very strong hold in our hearts and we will always cherish his beautiful memories.
Whenever I used to cook some Goan food, I would always share it with him as he loved eating all the Goan delicacies. It always reminded him of my Mom and his Mom’s cooking.
We will miss him for his expert advice on our medical needs and issues.
We loved and respected him and will greatly miss Terry. Nevertheless,
He will always be in our hearts and Prayers. May God grant him Eternal Rest & Peace. Amen
In sorrow: Nancy, Hector, Halford, Ninoshka and baba Liam.
July 1, 2019
July 9, 2019
I've been with Dr. D'souza for over 15 years and my heart is grieved over the passing of my Dr. and my friend. mY DEEPEST SYMPTANTHY GOES TO HIS FAMILY AND TO HIS ENTIRE STAFF, NURSE jody, and everyone associated with him. He has treated me for pain and discomfort in the most professional way. he was the kindest and most understanding man I've ever met. I will never forget him and the kind of person he was. If only this world had more doctors like him.
July 9, 2019
My deepest sympathies to the family of Dr. D’ Souza M.D.
He was a Dr. that understood his patients and truely cared for all of them. He had such a good heart I will miss him dearly. God Bless R.I.P
Cathy Wade & Family
July 8, 2019
Dr. DeSouza was my neurologist for a short time period .
However , I knew the first time that I met him that he had a true and genuine love and compassion for his patients .
My prayers are for Dr . DeSouza , his wife and extensive family .
Again, I met him briefly but he left a permanent impact both as a person and as a doctor on me !!!
July 8, 2019
First, I send my condolences to his large family, who are now grieving even more than I, his patient. Dr. D'Souza was a kind and gentle man toward me, always encouraging, and with a warm smile. I had never had the experience with a doctor who, when he walked into the examining room to meet me, knew everything about my medical history, never needing to look at his computer monitor. I was so shocked and saddened to learn of his passing through a phone call from the Ochsner Neurology Department cancelling my appointment for this week. I will miss him 😢
July 8, 2019
By any measure, Dr. D'Souza was an extraordinary physician and human being. To his knowledge and professionalism, he added personal warmth, humor and common sense. I always felt better after leaving his office, because in addition to the medical problem at hand, we talked, joked and learned about each other. His empathy and calm extended to everyone who worked with him. You were treated as an individual from the moment you walked into his waiting room. His family, friends, colleagues and patients were the better for having had him in their lives.
July 8, 2019
An angel walked amongst us, and now he is gone... his spirit will live on in his family, his friends and his patients...
He left behind a legacy of love, compassion and caring.
His life's journey is an inspiration to us all.
Terence will be missed dearly.
July 7, 2019
Dr. Terrence D’Souza was my neurologist whom I was referred to by a group of Doctors in Boston. I suffered the same “rare disease” he did in 2017. I cannot express enough gratitude to Dr. D’Souza for his care and compassion the last 2 years. My last visit was January 8th 2919. I remember him distinctly telling me “Be thankful you can walk with a cane and you have been able to regain a great portion of your mental faculties “. Dr. D’Souza was absolutely the greatest support and sponsor to me and my family. My condolences to his wife and children during this difficult time. God Bless you. May you Rest In Paradise Dr. D’Souza.. Thank you for being the person and Doctor you were. You touched my life. Gary Williams
July 6, 2019
Dear Bernadette and Family,
My heart is aching from the news of Terry’s passing. I am also very sorry for this great loss in your lives, as I know how close your beautiful family is. I remember when I first met Terry at Tulane about 37 years ago . I was just starting my neurology residency and he was my chief resident. He was a great teacher and would become a great friend and advisor during my residency, especially when I was serving as chief resident. I remember that when I became pregnant with my first child during my residency, Terry was instrumental in working with the department to set up my maternity leave. Through the years after Tulane, we remained in touch, sharing news of our practices and growing families. I was quite honored when he and Dr. Wilensky invited me to join their private practice in 2001. The three of us would go on to practice for 10 years together, until they joined the staff at Ochsner and I opened my solo practice. I will always cherish those years together. I feel lucky that I had the occasion to run into Terry at Ochsner about two months ago. He immediately greeted me with his huge smile and a hug and we shared news about our grandchildren. I feel blessed to have known Terry. He will be greatly missed. God bless.
July 6, 2019
Terry and I were Chief Residents at Tulane in the same year. He, in Neurology. Me, in Psych. He was a great guy! Excellent, knowledgable doc. Very compassionate and patient. Wonderful sense of humor. Loved life, his family, and his profession. Always had a smile for everyone. Patients with their families appreciated him and had meaningful experiences when they met him as head of the Memory Clinic at Ochsner Baptist. (I just referred another patient to him this week!) He and Bernie always seemed to be madly in love. I will miss him...
July 5, 2019
Dearest Bernie, Lloyd, Vanessa, Christine, Trevor, Tressie, Trudy, and, families/cousins,
Our dear cousin Terry will be missed for his wise counsel. Terry and Bernie worked hard to raise an “A” team - and did us proud. He would glisten when any one of his relatives (and their families) did well. A few words will never do justice for many fond memories and experiences shared with us.
Celebrating the life of a multi-talented family man (and cousin) and mourning his passing with all of you.