Cover photo for Ruth Jane Terry's Obituary
Ruth Jane Terry Profile Photo
1926 Ruth 2024

Ruth Jane Terry

April 11, 1926 — January 9, 2024


Ruth Jane Terry was born in Harlingen, Texas on April 11, 1926, to Ruth (neé Williams) and Harvey Willcox. Known as Jane to her friends and family, it was evident from birth she would be a force to be reckoned with, as she entered this world weighing eleven pounds and with, not just one, but two bottom teeth. Jane’s mother was one of eleven children, allowing Jane to be the fifth born of 27 cousins, and she outlived them all. Her large extended family of Texas educators and farmers along the Rio Grande Valley raised her with a foundation rooted in family and faith and, having lived through the Great Depression, Jane was thankful for everything she had while giving as much of herself as she could. These tenets she treasured were lovingly instilled in the generations that followed her, as she gently reminded her family often to be kind and to serve each other while serving God.

In 1946, Jane was married to Walter Terry at St. Anthony’s Church by Reverend Ordner. Together, they had three children: Ray, Martie, and Kay. While raising their children and doing the bookkeeping for Walter’s construction business, Jane also attended summer classes at Texas College of Arts and Industries in Kingsville and the University of Texas–Pan American in Edinburg, earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, respectively. With these degrees, Jane pursued a 40-year career in elementary education, serving as both teacher and principal at Crockett Elementary School in Harlingen, Texas.  While at Crockett, Jane made her mark by rewarding improvement rather than achievement and hosted the first-ever Head Start program. Since its inception in 1986, Jane has been an active and proud member of the Mu Zeta chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, an international sorority for Key Women Educators.

In her spare time, Jane was devoted to acts of service. She served as a lector at St. Anthony’s and helped the organist choose songs for each mass. She was a charter member of the Does from the BPOE Lodge #1889, where she taught swim lessons and helped organize swim meets throughout the valley and into Mexico. She took her children and their friends to school, music lessons, dance lessons, swimming practice, cheer practice, and more, often volunteering to make a dress or costume when one was needed for the occasion. Jane also helped care for her mother and aunt, identical twins known to their family as Big Mama and Aunt Emma. Jane often took to making the twins’ dresses herself, as store clerks couldn’t comprehend why she would want two sets of everything in the exact same size, color, and pattern.

Jane became a grandmother in 1971, a position she took just as seriously as her teaching duties. More grandchildren arrived in 1974, 1988, and 1989, and her heart only grew. While on breaks from the school year, Jane, known as Gram to her grandchildren, would keep the kids for weeks at a time, often for entire summers. She was not afraid of getting her hands dirty, or wet, as she tackled potty training, swim lessons, and taking kids to fun activities all over again. Summers spent with Gram were often some of the best memories her grandchildren had, making it even more difficult to leave for the upcoming school year.

In 1995, Jane bought her first beach house in Galveston and would live there part-time, primarily when the grandkids could come to visit so they could spend time on the beach together. In 2006, Jane became a full-time island resident and jumped into helping the community with both feet. She was a member of St. Patrick’s Church (later Holy Family Parish) for over twenty years, annually contributing baked goods for the St. Patrick’s Day festival and donating handmade blankets and pillowcases for fundraiser drawings. Jane chaired the sewing committee of the Holy Family Parish Alter Society since 2016, handmaking Baptism bibs for new Catholics of all ages, monogramming purificators and corporals for each church in the parish, and taking it upon herself to mend or alter vestments for the priests and deacons. Outside of church, Jane created over 100 lap robes annually for 10 years and donated them to residents of the Gulf Health Care Center. Additionally, she aided in the efforts to collect and donate baby bottles, clothes, and linens for the Galveston Pregnancy Help Center for the last 12 years.

Jane was the embodiment of living a full and loving life. Her front door was always open, figuratively and literally, so family members could stop by for a visit, a fresh-baked cookie, and a story from her childhood. She was happy to volunteer her driveway for photos of the day’s catch by the fishermen of the family, as long as her address wasn’t visible should the catch be over the limit so she could avoid incrimination. Not only did she care for her aging mother and aunt, but she also assisted in the care of Mary Bell and Klemann Watson as they got older, both of whom had no children to help them later in life.

She passed away peacefully on January 9, 2024, at 97 years old with family by her side, and is preceded in death by her husband Walter Terry, her son Ray Terry, her brother Harvey Willcox, her parents Ruth and Harvey Willcox, her Aunt Ruby “Emma” Myers, and many more aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jane is survived by her children Martie Terry and Kay Terry, her grandchildren Billy Howell, Stoney (Karen) Howell, Katy (Ty) Balch, and Austin Pounds, and her great-grandchildren Scarlett Balch, Emma Balch, William Howell, Carson Balch, and Hunter Howell.

The Terry family will receive friends and relatives on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home.  A graveside service will begin at 3:00 o’clock Tuesday afternoon at Mont Memorial Park in San Benito.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Ruth Jane Terry, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, January 23, 2024

11:00am - 1:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

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Graveside Service

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

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