Keeping it real and Keeping it positive.

Terry….The 90 Year Old Miracle Man…and How He Impacted My Life.

on February 2, 2018

I made a commitment to myself two and a half years ago that I would visit significant mentors in my life who were quickly aging. I didn’t want to attend their funerals, but wanted to see them alive and give them hugs and let them know how much they mean to me. First I visited my friend Martha two years ago for her 90th birthday. We had a fabulous time. I had wanted to visit, Doris, my Pastor’s wife from my teenage years, but she passed before I could get to Atlanta.

Today I was able to go to Kissimmee, FL. and spend a few hours and lunch with Terry, Gloria and Eli Reyes. Terry will be 91 in July and Gloria will be 94. Their ‘youngest’ son, who was in my youth group in the 70’s in NYC, just turned 60. It happens!

Two years ago I got the word that Terry was gravely ill and not expected to live. Today, two years later, he reached out his arms as he sat in his wheel chair and shouted my name…BARBI….BARBI….and we hugged.  He was our miracle.



Yes, two years ago he had surgery for colon cancer. The surgery resulted in a colostomy and Terry in a coma. After time passed the family gathered and the decision was made to take him off life support. He would not want to ‘live’ like this. As the family stood over him and the Doctor said it usually takes about 20 minutes after being removed from life support….well, it’s been over 2 years and he’s breathing fine. His mind is sharp. He can still often walk with a walker, but best to use a wheelchair. He lives in an nursing care facility to have help with his colostomy, but other than that he is fine and his mind is sharp. He has NOT lost his wit or his good nature, and that infection laugh is still there.

Gloria, his wife of 69 years is living in the same ‘village’ but in assisted living. She has some dementia, and has lost most of her hearing, but other than that she is in good health. She walks on her own, with just a cane for an assist and she did remember me and asked about Barry and our kids. She honestly looks just the same. Her mother lived to be 104.

The Reyes family came in to my life in 1969 when I worked that summer as an intern in NYC with an inner city mission. I didn’t at that time work directly with Terry but had the opportunity to meet them. They had immigrated from the Philippines to NYC to start a church and reach out to the Filipino community in NYC. I returned to NYC full time in 1971 and at that time worked with Terry and Gloria in the inner city of NY.

If I were to typify Terry Reyes it would be to say he was the most humble man I have ever know. Real humility is rare. Those who possess it have no idea they do. It’s just who they are and God has gifted them with this great gift. Terry taught me that it’s always right to do what’s right. That when people are in need we don’t analyze the situation to see if they are ‘deserving’…but if we can meet that need to MEET IT. God will sort it all out at another time.

Terry one time drove a couple from our church from NYC to Mexico City in his beat up car and on his very austere budget. When asked why he did it he said…’They had a need and I had a car.’ That is how he lived.

He had such a heart for those less fortunate. He often would bring homeless people home to their house in Queens. One time he called Gloria and said he was bringing home a homeless man who was living on the street. He said he really had no choice as the man’s name was ‘JESUS’. Jesus lived with the Reyes’ and then moved in to the back area of our small, storefront church building and took care of the janitorial needs. He became part of our NYC Family.

Terry and Gloria loved deeply, both the Lord and people…all people. They always believed that everyone deserved to know and experience the Lord’s love and if they could be a small part of that it was enough. They never judged, never lost hope and always believed God had a plan for their lives. Watching them live their lives taught me more about how to live as a Christian than any of the many classes I took. I am eternally grateful. I love them so much.

When Barry and I married it was Terry we asked to perform our wedding ceremony. He was assisted by Charles Faust, who had also had a profound impact on my life while living in NYC. We chose to get married at the little community chapel at West Point. The obvious reason was that’s where Barry and I met, but the other reason was the location allowed for many of our congregation from NYC to attend. Former street gang kids and other’s from our multinational congregation came to the wedding along with Army friends, college friends and of course family. This Canadian gal married her American Soldier with a Filipino and NY pastor officiating and a small cross section of the ‘world’ looking on.

So today, with my life long friend Barbara joining me, we were able to enjoy the Reyes’. Memories flooded, stories were shared, hugs were given and received and God showed me once again in big ways that I am SO BLESSED…..and I continue to look Back and Forth……

2 responses to “Terry….The 90 Year Old Miracle Man…and How He Impacted My Life.

  1. Barry says:

    So, so, so glad you got to do this, darling. What a significantly special time it was… and your post is a treasure. They ALL are👏😍
    Wish I could have been there but they’ll be close and we can see them a lot.


  2. Beth Erwin says:

    Barb, I’m so glad you were able to visit with my folks. I can tell that they were very happy to see you. Really enjoyed your post & appreciate your kind words about them. Randy & I came home to NY last Thursday, so we just missed you by a few days. Maybe we’ll get to see you on one of our Florida visits once you’re there permanently.


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