Scholar, beloved husband, father and friend, Terry Patrick Abraham died suddenly Thursday, March 29, 2018, from acute coronary syndrome (spontaneous aortic dissection). He was 73.
He was born Oct. 6, 1944, in Portland, Ore., the second son of Frederick E. and Marion A. Abraham. A book and history lover from a young age, he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Washington in 1965, a Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington State University in 1968, and a Master of Library Science from the University of Oregon in 1970. That same year, he also earned a certificate in archival librarianship from UO.
Terry's 37-year career included stints at Washington State University, the California Historical Society and finally the University of Idaho, where in 2005 he retired as a professor and head of special collections and archives after 21 years of service. He actively supported the national community of archivists and librarians, serving as a program officer for the National Endowment for the Humanities, a projects editor for the Society of American Archivists and a member of the Idaho Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. He was a founding member and former officer of Northwest Archivists.
On April 24, 1992, Terry married Priscilla Wegars, historical archaeologist and founder of the UI's Asian American Comparative Collection. They were life partners in every sense, sharing similar educational backgrounds, personal and intellectual interests, a good sense of humor and a grand sense of adventure. They truly were best friends.
Terry and Priscilla shared an abiding and keen interest in the history of the Pacific Northwest, particularly the roles and lives of the Chinese in the region. They collaborated on numerous publications on the topic, including "Chinese Cemeteries and Burial Practices in the Pacific Northwest," a chapter in Alta Mira Press's "Chinese American Death Rituals: Respecting the Ancestors." Terry also wrote "Mountains So Sublime: Nineteenth Century British Travellers and the Lure of the Rocky Mountain West," a book published in 2005 by University of Calgary Press. In 2007, he won a coveted Esto Perpetua ("Let It Be Perpetual") award from the Idaho State Historical Society.
The couple traveled extensively for business and pleasure to England, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Cambodia, Taiwan, Thailand, Laos, China, Hong Kong and Macau, as well as to a variety of cities in the continental United States and Hawaii. They also were members of the Idaho Roadrunners, a local travel group. Terry loved train travel, even the yearly Potlatch speeders, and the couple prided themselves on traveling to even the most remote destinations using only public transportation. When they did travel by car, they enjoyed driving their red PT Cruiser, chosen at least in part because of their initials in its name.
Terry had a dry wit and an easy laugh. He loved watching British comedies on public television. He and Priscilla made a daily ritual of reading the newspaper together, and one of Terry's small joys was guessing the answer to the Jumble puzzle without actually working it. He enjoyed dancing; he and Priscilla regularly rang in the new year dancing to The Senders at the annual New Year's Eve celebration at the University Inn. Terry also was very adept at and enjoyed working with computers and other technology.
Red wine was one of Terry's passions - he enjoyed tasting different varieties wherever he and Priscilla traveled. Beginning in 1995, he also enjoyed doing research for, and participating in, the Palouse Asian American Association Investment Club as one of its founding members. In his younger life, Terry enjoyed motorcycling.
Terry is survived by his wife, Priscilla Wegars, of Moscow; daughter Tina Fairfax and her husband, Daron, of Chilliwack, British Columbia; son Nils Mork, his wife Yang Kil, and their children, Terry and Amber, of Diamond Bar, Calif.; and a brother, Douglas, his wife Nina, niece Julia and nephew Douglas Alexander (Sasha) Abraham, from the Seattle area. His parents and older brother Richard preceded him in death.
Per Terry's wishes, there will be no memorial service. Memorials may be directed to the University of Idaho Foundation for the Asian American Comparative Collection Endowment or for the Library Associates at 875 Perimeter Drive, MS 3147, Moscow, ID 83844-3147, with memo "AAAC Endowment" or "Library Associates."