Terry Lynn (McCulla) McTaggart departed this world peacefully, at home, at 1:45 a.m. on Wednesday, 19 August 2020.
Born Terry Lynn Rita McCulla on May 21, 1957, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the eldest of three girls, she was preceded in death by her mother Jeanette (Bergeron) McCulla and her younger sister, Elizabeth McCulla. Terry is survived by her father, Francis McCulla, husband James Reid McTaggart, son Bowen Wilder, sister Colleen, nieces Libby McTaggart, Elissa McCulla, and Maddie McKenzie; nephews Connor McTaggart and Joshua Thomas.
Terry attended grade school in Lafayette, Louisiana, graduated high school at the American School in London https://www.asl.org/, and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at The University of Texas in 1981, graduating with High Honors. Terry’s working career mostly involved commercial photography and imaging technology. An exceptional beauty, Terry strongly preferred to be behind the camera or in the lab, though she was a top-producing salesperson for a time.
Working her way through college as a waitress, Terry first met her future husband in January 1976. Never one to rush important decisions, it would be December 2000 when Terry finally ‘walked down the aisle.’
After several years living in Houston, Terry and Reid relocated to the beautiful Texas Hill Country, settling in Hunt, Texas, in 2006, where Terry transformed their plain little house and barren yard into a family compound bursting with art, aesthetic design, lush landscaping and abundant wildlife habitat. Through the years, she adopted many homeless animals, five of whom survive her and are also heartbroken at her passing.
Toiling in her studio, Terry produced artistic works and clothing in many media and styles. She worked with found objects, taxidermist discards, acrylic paints, old clothing, photographs, pen & ink, pencil, etc. Never offering her work for sale, Terry’s fulfillment was in the creative process itself, though some of her work did get public exposure. Among her juried show wins was her painting ‘Nola Lisa Smiles’ for the 2011 Kerrville Mardi Gras on Main fundraiser. She also produced a major natural history display for the Hill Country Archaeology Society, and led the design and construction of the Hunt Garden Club’s ‘Pollinator’ float for the Hunt Centennial Parade.
Terry also loved kayaking on the cool, clear Upper Guadalupe River, and collecting rocks, fossils, and the occasional Indian artifact.
But more than any of the above, Terry served other people, putting everyone else’s needs and wants above her own. Occasionally hurt by the callous ingratitude of others, she persisted in her kindness and never lashed out. She trusted and believed people. She always presumed that others had the same innocence, truth, and good intentions that she had. The most common phrase people use to describe Terry is ‘a light.’ Intensely spiritual, Terry brought light to every person and situation… always smiling, always making things fun, always touching people in ways that most mattered to them.
Terry was constantly in motion, always working on something: making a collage for her mother, helping someone clean their house, comforting the old and infirm, or befriending a random needy person. Many is the time she turned a casual visit from friends into an instant party, with food and drink and colorful plates and napkins and ribbons and balloons. And always, Terry was the waitress, refusing to sit down if there was even the slightest thing that needed doing. She once threw a surprise birthday party for her husband, and did it so subtly that the party was in full swing before he even realized what was happening.
Because of her energy and unstoppable drive, Terry mined more and more of her reserves as the undiagnosed cancer sapped ever greater amounts of her strength. Every day, for months on end, Terry aided her incapacitated mother, who finally passed away in April 2020. Terry kept pushing herself afterwards, attending to her mother’s final affairs; and it was only around the time of Terry’s 63 rd birthday in late May that we could see plainly that something was wrong. A chest x-ray in June revealed a very large mass in her lung. Subsequent tests led to a diagnosis of
adenocarcinoma, Stage IV-B. There was no hope for our beloved Terry.
Terry’s casual good nature sometimes obscured the deep truth that she was a lady through-and- through, and she maintained her dignity unflinchingly to the very end. With her diagnosis unknown to anyone else but her husband, she drove 12 hours to New Orleans to visit her father, enjoying good times with him and other relatives, as well as shopping for home décor and cleaning his house. Returning home thoroughly exhausted, she finally allowed her husband to pamper her. Despite needing more and stronger pain medicines, Terry insisted on maintaining herself and being presentable for any visitor at any time. Less than 24 hours before the end, Terry was still walking slowly, and even throwing in a few dance steps.
Peterson Hospice provided exemplary care in Terry’s last few days, controlling the pain that was Terry’s only fear. She was completely at peace, holding her husband’s hand as she quietly slipped away from the life she had lived so well.
Consistent with Terry’s way of living, she will be cremated without ceremony, dressed casually in her style: light aqua jeans, a loose blue top, and whimsically decorated sneakers. She will be anointed with holy water from her last visit to San Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.
Also in keeping with Terry’s life of service to others, the family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
Humane Society of Kerrville http://humanesocietyofkerrville.com/ or Peterson Hospice
When gatherings of friends become safe again, the family will arrange a memorial event of the sort that
Terry would have done for someone else but never for herself.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Terry Lynn (McCulla) McTaggart, please visit our floral store.
Kathleen C. Cailloux Humane Society
2900 Junction Hwy, Kerrville TX 78028
551 Cully Dr, Kerrville TX 78028