July 4, 1936 – September 18, 2019
“So the verses flow, and the stories go …. That only my father knows… only he.”
It is with great sadness that our family announces that Terry McCluskey passed away in the early morning hours of September 18, 2019 in Saint John (NB) Regional Hospital from complications due to a hip fracture. Born in Edmundston, NB on July 4, 1936 Terry was raised on the family potato farm on McCluskey Road near Grand Falls, NB. He grew up as the beloved, eldest son and second child of eight of Thomas and Kathleen (O’Keefe) McCluskey. He often spoke fondly of being outnumbered by his wonderful sisters, to whom he was very close, especially Sharon who provided special support in later years and who yearly hosted her legendary St. Patrick's Day party. His family’s Irish heritage was a source of pride and Terry often referred to himself as an FBI – Foreign Born Irishman.
Terry attended UNB and graduated in 1961 with a BEng(Electrical) and BEd. He served in the Royal Canadian Navy's "University Naval Training Divisions" during his college summers. Engineering was never his calling, but teaching most certainly was. He taught math at Simonds HS in Saint John and later, math and physics at the Institute of Technology in Moncton.
It was at the UNB Newman club that he met his wife to be, Mary Louise (Hughes) - his Lucy, a woman he loved dearly and was devoted to for the rest of his life. They were married in 1963 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Saint John, NB.
In 1965, he moved to Sydney, Cape Breton to work with others to open the Canadian Coast Guard College (CCGC). The CCGC became his life for 30 years and he fulfilled many roles: he taught maths, physics and electrotechnology and later became Head of the Maths and Sciences Department. Subsequently, he became the first Registrar at the CCGC, working closely with his right-hand aide, Lynda Casey. After his official retirement, Terry developed and taught a Marine History course at the CCGC, combining his love for history and the marine field.
Fluently bilingual, Terry was known and loved by cadets, faculty and staff of all stripes for his down to earth teaching style, his endless supply of re-cycled jokes, his love for socializing, his limitless memory for old Irish or French folk songs and his legendary homemade beer. His favourite haunt was the College’s Chez Nous Mess where he shared many a beer with close friends Jim Kelly, Joe Murphy and David Parkes among many others.
Conscious of his own academic struggles, Terry felt honoured to help tutor any cadet struggling with their studies. He was also passionate about helping to create the Canadian Coast Guard alumni association, and was extremely proud of their successes and careers both within and outside the Coast Guard. Meanwhile, he kept up his own studies and acquired a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UCCB, now Cape Breton University. His commitment to the Coast Guard was matched by his devotion to his Catholic faith, which he lived on a daily basis. He was very active in his parish of Our Lady of Fatima as a Minister of the Word and of the Eucharist, and was a member of both the Knights of Columbus and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. A man of integrity, Terry brought laughter, humour and life to every room he entered. Kind and loyal, he was a forgiving man who saw the best in everyone. He loved marine history, science fiction and bridge, where his use of the 5 no-trump bid tried the patience of any partner, particularly his wife. He loved the simple things: board games, wine, whiskey, the fourth verse to any song and time in his garden - especially with his grandchildren.
Terry will be remembered as a man who believed the cup was always half full, that a stranger was a friend he had yet to meet and a good joke was worth telling, retelling and telling yet again. Ta da! Dearly loved by his four children, we remember his steadfast, constant presence in our lives, whether it was at athletic or academic events or in the quieter moments at home. He rejoiced in our triumphs and walked beside us in our failures. He taught us by example and, only as adults, do we fully understand the many gifts of character he possessed and the blessings he gave us. Diagnosed with a Parkinson’s-like disease in 2014, Terry relocated from Sydney, after 50 happy years there, to Saint John NB to be closer to family. In his last five years he suffered from poor physical health but was always positive, refusing to complain though tested. It was his long-held desire to have his wake and funeral in his beloved, adopted home of Cape Breton.
He is survived by his beloved wife of fifty-six years, Mary Lou, and four devoted children: Seumas, his “bowlegged” daughter Kathleen (Vladimir) Mojeiko, Paddy (Alison), and Connell (Fiona), as well as seven grandchildren, Mattvei, Alexei, Abigail, Fiacra, Ailbhe, Megan, and Finn; and by sisters: Colleen Daley, Joanne Glynn, Maureen LeBlanc, Sharon Eagan, as well as brother Kevin. Besides his parents, he was predeceased by older sister Carmel Keoghan and brother Shawn. To all who knew Terry, we ask that you remember him in your own way. Raising a glass of your favourite drink or his (Tullamore Dew) would be highly appropriate. Instead of flowers, we ask that you do an act of kindness for someone, possibly a struggling student. Terry was firm in his opinion that giving kindness does as much good as receiving it.
Visitation for Terry McCluskey will be held on Friday, October 11th 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm at T.W. Curry Parkview Chapel in Sydney, NS. Mass of Christian burial at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sydney River, Cape Breton Saturday, October 12th at 11 am. A memorial service was held on 25 September,2019 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Saint John, NB. Interment will be at a later date. Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand
To leave online condolences please visit www.twcurry.com
- Mary Lou (Hughes) McCluskey, Wife
- Thomas McCluskey, Father (deceased)
- Kathleen (O'Keefe) McCluskey, Mother (deceased)
- Seumas McCluskey, Son
- Kathleen (Vladimir) Mojeiko, Daughter
- Paddy (Alison) McCluskey, Son
- Connell (Fiona) McCluskey, Son
- Mattvei, Alexei, Abigail, Fiacra, Grandchildren
- Ailbhe, Megan, Finn, Grandchildren
- Colleen Daley, Sister
- Joanne Glynn, Sister
- Maureen LeBlanc, Sister
- Sharon Eagan, Sister
- Kevin McCluskey, Brother
- Carmel Keoghan, Sister (deceased)
- Shawn McCluskey, Brother (deceased)
- Visitation Friday, October 11, 2019
- Funeral Mass Saturday, October 12, 2019
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Dr. James Wheelhouse
October 11, 2019
Terry's dedication to teaching Mathematics and Physics set a strong base for the education of many graduates over the years. As a student and colleague of Terry, I know his sense of humour will be fondly remembered by those of us who spent time with him around the tables in Chez Nous. As Registrar, he was instrumental in the selection of Officer Cadets and graduates who have served around the world with distinction. Please accept my condolences.
October 8, 2019
So sorry to hear of Terry's passing. He certainly led a full life and positively touched many lives. He was indeed one of the bright lights of our years in Sydney River...one street over. I remember the McCluskey household being bustling with projects, activity and bridge & the door being open to many. Our thoughts are with Mary Lou and all of the family at this difficult time.
Ann & Ted Brown, Penticton , BC
October 8, 2019
As a former student of Terry, in the early years of the Canadian Coast Guard College, it was with great sadness that I learned of his passing. However, this feeling was quickly superseded with memories of his kindness, helpfulness and joviality. Over the years, Terry never wavered from his positive attitude towards life and comradery with students, colleagues and everyone around him. I remember him fondly and express my sympathy to all his family and friends.
October 1, 2019
Mr. McCluskey taught me history at the CCGC. He came back from retirement to teach us and I was ever so grateful for his humour, his knowledge and his kindness.
We shared a passion for Maritime history and I hung on his every lesson. I also enjoyed his trivial pursuit evenings. He battled a group of us students, after partaking in his wife's excellent spaghetti. He confided that he always won, and his secret, by placing all of the students on the side against him, he counted on the fact that if one student had the right answer, another student would convince him/her out of it. And he did always win.
He shared so much, with so many. He is missed.
September 25, 2019
I am a graduate of CCGC from 1976.
Mr McCluskey taught me math and physics. He was always there to push and inspire the cadets and for that I thank him.
When I attended the college’s 40th anniversary in 2005, Terry was still there, in fine form, and not only remembered me but details of my college time from 30 years previously. It was clear that he could do that for hundreds of former cadets.
Few people in any profession can or will have that affect on those they come in contact with. Terry was one of those and will always be remembered for it.
I just retired as a mariner after 45 years in the profession, and Terry helped me along the path. Thank you and Rest In Peace.
Captain Paul D. Jull