Terry Stenberg

Obituary of Terry Douglas Stenberg

Terry Douglas Stenberg Bowdoin College Overseer Emeritus and member of the Class of ’56 Terry Douglas Stenberg died on July 5, 2020, in Camden, Maine, at the age of 86. A longtime educator and a lifelong musician known for his perfect pitch and his celebration of Bowdoin in his own music, Terry spent his retirement years in Maine and remained an active member of the Bowdoin community. He was recognized by the College in 2005 as a winner of the Polar Bear Award for his many contributions to the life of the College. Terry was born July 1, 1934, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He spent his youth in Milton, began playing piano at the age of four, later formed a quintet with other pre-teens, and graduated from Milton High School. He arrived at Bowdoin on an Alumni Fund scholarship. A government major, with a minor in music, and member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, Terry was a James Bowdoin Scholar and the recipient of a second Alumni Fund scholarship. He was vice president of his class. He won the Wooden Spoon award, given to the student who most exemplifies the spirit and character of Bowdoin. Members of the Bowdoin community who were fortunate enough to have known him will likely best remember Terry’s passion for music. He was a member of the Glee Club for all four years, serving as its president, and was a dedicated member of the Meddiebempsters, the College’s a cappela augmented double quartet. He wrote vocal arrangements for the group and traveled with the Meddies on summer tours of U.S. military bases in Europe. In his sophomore year he was also a member of the Emanons, a Bowdoin jazz quintet which performed on campus and at other colleges in New England and recorded an album. He was also active in ROTC at Bowdoin and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Signal Corps after graduation. Terry was stationed at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. He married Shirley Lindgren in October of 1956. He went on to take the first of many positions in education at the Peekskill Military Academy in New York. He taught math at Peekskill and was assistant commander there, then went on to New York Military Academy, where he was the head of the lower school. In 1960 he and Shirley and their growing family moved to Massachusetts, where he took on the position of director of admissions at Pine Manor Junior College. While working at Pine Manor he began a master’s program in education at Boston University, receiving that degree in 1970. He earned a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Minnesota in 1976. Terry continued to thrive in academic environments; his next move was to the Summit School in St. Paul, Minnesota, as headmaster in 1967. He held similar positions at the Hillsdale-Lotspeich School (1970-74) and Seven Hills School (1974-76) in Cincinnati and at the Hawken School in Cleveland. He was a member of many professional organizations, including National Association of Secondary School Principals and the Ohio Association of Independent Schools (which he served as secretary-treasurer and president). Active in Bowdoin clubs in Boston and Cincinnati, Terry joined the Alumni Council in 1971. He was the Cincinnati Area Chairman for Bowdoin’s 175th Anniversary Campaign Program and in 1983 was named an Overseer of the College. In 1991, Terry and Shirley relocated to Maine and made Cushing their permanent home, leaving temporarily when Terry accepted a three-year appointment in 1993 as the director of the American Collegiate Institute in Izmir, Turkey. He stepped down from Bowdoin’s Board of Overseers at that time. The couple’s time in Turkey inspired Shirley to pursue her interests in art history. Upon their return, Shirley plunged deeper into that interest, becoming a dedicated docent to the Farnsworth Museum. Meanwhile Terry, while continuing his work in education as a consultant, devoted much of his free time to his long-standing interest in music. While Terry struggled with a debilitating, auto-immune condition, he worked on music for instrumental ensembles. In October 2012 the Portland Symphony Orchestra performed and recorded his medley, “Remembering Tilly: Five Songs of Bowdoin College,” inspired by Professor Frederic E.T. "Tilly" Tillotson. For Terry it was a true labor of love. In recent years the Bowdoin College Concert Band has also performed and recorded several of Terry’s other arrangements: Forward the White, Bowdoin Beata; Three Mountain Songs, A Jazz Medley; and Songs of World War One Soldiers. He was predeceased by his mother, Harriette Dolliver Stenberg; his step-father, John William Stenberg; his sister, Susanne Stenberg Scull; his brother, John Tileston Stenberg; and his son-in law, Lawrence Berk. He is survived by his beloved wife of 63 years, Shirley Stenberg of Cushing, Maine; son Douglas G. Stenberg ’79 and his wife, Kari Nordhoy Stenberg, of Robesonia, Pennsylvania; daughter Gretchen Ford Stenberg Dismukes and her husband, Walter W. Dismukes, Jr., of Harpswell, Maine; daughter Sarah Osier Stenberg Berk of Bearsville, New York; and three grandsons: Jonah S. Berk of Joliet, Illinois, Adam O. Berk of Portland, Oregon, and Isaac D. Berk of Bearsville, New York. A service is planned for a future date at the First Congregational Church of Camden, 55 Elm Street, Camden, Maine. [At the family’s request, gifts in Terry’s memory may be made to the Meddiebempsters Scholarship Fund, Office of Stewardship Programs, 4175 College Station, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine 04011.]
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