Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Art Of Living A Very Full Life.

When he was just a mere lad, my father, "Buddy" Ternay, was told by his 7th grade teacher that he
would not be going into the 8th grade unless he completed a report about the country of China.

 Having been raised by a tough and very independent Irish mother who didn't take crap from anybody, my father told the teacher, " I am going to be a farmer and I can't see how knowing anything about China will make me a better farmer." Pop walked out of the Olivet School on that day and never looked back. It was the end of his formal education.

My father was a very dapper young man.
He got his nickname because his good
looks reminded many of the then popular
movie star, Charles "Buddy" Rogers.


My dad met my  mom, Helen Mason,
at a "Speakeasy" in Vineland, New Jersey. They soon eloped to Elkton, Maryland, to get married. It seems running off to Elkton in the heat of passion was what young couples did, kinda' like another fad of the times, marathon dancing.

Their passion soon spawned three sons; William T. Jr., (with the gun) Frank, and Robert.

Bud and Helen were married for sixty-four years.

In addition to being farmers, they put in long hours in their country store.For over 31 years it was the social hub of the local farming community. The store also got raided every month or so because of the poker games played in the back room, late into the night.

My dad was famous for his "Subs," and at Thanksgiving, for his delicious Pumpkin pies.

When he finally retired, he had the dilapidated store moved to the field behind his house, nestled
into the hedgerow.  It was his visual "touchstone" to an enjoyable part of his past.

At 2: 34 p.m. on the 16th of May 2014, our father died, very peacefully, in his house and on the land he had
farmed and loved for over sixty years. A week before he passed he said "If you own farmland, you've got to grow something on it."  This is the last drawing I did of my father.

Although he was very much an Agnostic, I like to think that Pop's spirit will forever be linked to the fields he cultivated, plowed, nourished, and harvested, on his little piece of South Jersey.
He will be missed by many.



  1. What a wonderful tribute to your dad. It sounds as if he had a good, full life and he certainly produced a loving son.

  2. Hi Bill. I'm so sorry to hear of your Dad's death. But what a life to celebrate. Thanks for sharing this snapshot of their lives, it was very interesting. I've been thinking about aging and everything lately and I think it is just the best thing that he got to come home! A gift! It's very cool that he brought the old shop back to their property. Fun. I love how you wrote about it being a touchstone. My sympathies to you and your family Bill. Thinking of you.

  3. Thank you Nancy and Kim. On the morning before he went into a coma, he looked at me as I was feeding him oatmeal and asked, "How did I get this way?" I had to smile and remind him of what he'd been telling friends and stranger for many years; "Too many Birthdays!"

  4. So sorry to hear the news, Bill. I feel we came to know him through your drawings and photos. I particularly am fond of a photo from a few months back ... Sitting in his kitchen ... a visual bio of his life. Thank you for sharing him with us! CarolH-NY (ArtistLady)

  5. My dear Bill, I only just got to look at your blog this morning. This is an absolutely appropriate and memorable tribute to your dad. I am going to show this to my mum who is 94. It represents his life and his fire for living and independent spirit right to the end. Yes I'll miss the news and the drawings but as you say he lives on in your memories and hearts. I am aiming to be exactly the same. What a great example that man was.

  6. Thank you Art and Sheila for your kind thoughts. Our Father was indeed a real character, which I suspect anyone of us would be after living one hundred and one years.
    Just think of all the "Patina" accrued!

  7. I must add this: The very day our father's body left his house, my brother Frank, who lived with him for over 13 yeas 24/7, was ordered by his doctor to immediately go to the hospital. Tests revealed he had cancer throughout his body. He died 3 weeks after our father. CRAZY! Life and Death; big mysteries, for sure. I'm getting very tired about dealing with death.

    1. I'm very sorry to hear you lost your brother Bill.
      Tough going to be sure.

  8. A beautiful tribute to your Dad, Bill.
    I wish I'd met him.