he greatest man we’ve ever known, Winston Lowell Terrill, passed away peacefully in Lebanon, Indiana, on January 21, 2022. He was just two days shy of his 96th birthday.
Born in Lebanon, Indiana, on January 23, 1926, he was the second child of Dwight and Pauline (Laughner) Terrill. During the economic hardship years of the Great Depression, his family survived on his father’s wages of just a dollar a day. Winston’s first job was cutting thistles for a nickel an hour. Still, he spoke fondly of his early years and of his parents, proudly sharing scrapbooks his mother made for him when he was young. From his father, he inherited his affinity for hard work, his love of the land and its history, and his farm boy work ethic.
Winston attended Lindberg Primary School and Lebanon High School. Even in his later years, he recalled which teachers were kind and which were not. He loved to share his old school photos but was embarrassed that his mother dressed him in knickers while the other boys wore their bib overalls.
After high school, he couldn’t wait to enlist in the military, where he served as a radar operator aboard the SS Catalina. One foggy night, the SS Catalina was headed right for another ship. He picked it up on the radar and ran to tell the captain, saving the ship and the many soldiers aboard. Winston met his future wife, Pauline (Hedge), not long after his military days. She was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Pauline rode her horse to see him, where he dressed in his cool leather coat and slicked his hair back to impress her. They were engaged shortly after she graduated from high school.
On May 20, 1950, he and Pauline married at her parents’ home. They rented and later purchased a farm home and land in Lebanon. They grew farm crops, flowers, a fruit and vegetable garden, and their family there. They lived in the same house and loved each other well for all their married lives.
Together, they had three boys (Roger, Randy, and Ray) and their little girl, Nancy. His children brought such joy to his life – they wrestled, played barnyard baseball, football, and basketball. A basketball hoop in his barn helped gather cousins and friends. With Winston and Pauline, strangers became friends, and friends became family.
One of Winston’s great passions in life was building boats for his sons. When his son, Randy, first raced as a part of the Green Hornet boat racing team for the Indiana Outboard Association, Winston’s initial fears subsided. He quickly fell in love with the sport. After that, he rarely missed a race and soon volunteered to serve as a referee for local and national events.
Winston and Pauline lived one of the greatest love stories. They loved each other like newlyweds for over 71 years. They loved playing cards with friends and family. They also found great joy in raising their family together. Even in Pauline’s later years, when she developed dementia and began to forget who he was, he held her close and took careful care of her. To help bring some joy to her life in the later stages of her illness, he bought a golf cart, nicknamed “Miss Pauline,” so he could take her for drives around their farm. Then, when her voice was gone, and she could no longer speak, he discovered that he could still sing to her, and she would sing along. Together, they sang, “You are my Sunshine” daily. His eyes welled with tears every single time he heard her sing those words, “you’ll never know dear, how much I love you” – and it brought sunshine to all of our lives to see them love each other so well.
In the Terrill home, everyone was always welcome. Pauline made baked goods, sweet tea, and lemonade. She was quick to offer you something to eat and didn’t stop sharing food until you couldn’t possibly eat another bite. Winston provided stories from WW II, tractor rides, a tour of his antique collection, and explanations of how things worked on the farm. He was a beautiful woodworker and loved to make wooden treasures, including hutches, hat racks, and playhouses to share with his family. He also had beautiful handwriting and enjoyed writing and reading letters from friends all over the country. Once he made a friend, it was a friend for life, even if he didn’t see you often. He even tried to look up some old Army friends that he hadn’t seen in over 70 years in his final years.
Winston and Pauline tremendously enjoyed living close to many of their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, whose daily lives were blessed by their gentle leadership. They supported and became the biggest fans of every team and interest their family showed.
When Pauline passed in 2018, Winston’s heart shattered into a million pieces. He kept pictures of her all around the house to see her no matter where he was. Winston always loved only her. He explained that for him, the secret to lasting love was never letting his eyes or thoughts focus on anyone but her.
Winston is survived by sons Roger (Michelle) Terrill, Randy (Kelly) Terrill, daughter Nancy (Cecil) Gosser, daughter-in-law Carla (Niles) Gwinn, grandchildren Scott (Anna) Terrill, Ryan Terrill, Lisa (Gabriel) Siqueira, Dawn (Steve) Racht, Brad (Lindsey) Terrill, Keith (Angie) Terrill, Troy (Kris) Terrill, Jason (Kelley) Terrill, Craig (Rachel) Terrill, Jeb Gosser and Wil (fiancé Courtney) Gosser. Great-grandchildren Michelle, Grant, Madeline, Aaron, Cory, Drew, Carson, Morgan, Oliver, Mikey, Millie, Abby, Peyton, Luke, Ashlyn, Jackie, Drew, Zach, Journey, Josie, and Juliet. Preceding him in death were his parents, Dwight and Pauline, his wife, Pauline, son Raymond Terrill and his brother, Paul, sister-in-law, Gloria Terrill.
His family and friends will remember the love and acceptance he showed everyone, the pride he felt for his family, and the way he loved his sweet “Poopsie” so well. Knowing and loving him has changed each of us for the better. And though the leader of our band grew tired, his song will play on as we strive to be the living legacy of this truly remarkable man.
Visitation will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, January 25, 2022, at Myers Mortuary in Lebanon, Indiana.
Graveside Funeral Services will follow at 1:00 p.m. at Oak Hill Cemetery in Lebanon.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Boone County Senior Services at 515 Crown Pointe Drive, Lebanon, Indiana 46052 or the Humane Society for Boone County, P.O. Box 708, Lebanon, Indiana 46052.