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Terry Michael Bennett, M.D., M.P.H

Posted By Direct Cremation of the Seacoast On October 2, 2019 @ 8:52 am In Obituaries | 17 Comments

Portsmouth, NH- Terry Michael Bennett, M.D., M.P.H; died September 30th after a lengthy and fiercely fought battle with cancer. He passed comfortably surrounded by family. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Melanie Piper Allison, his sons, Terry Jr of Los Angeles, CA; Timothy John of Bozeman, MT and his daughter Persephone Jeanmarie of Antwerp, Belgium. Grandsons Izaak and Devon Ullian of San Mateo, CA. Also, his sisters Jill (Richard) Polsby and Cynthia (Edward) De Beixedon of Pasadena, CA; several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents and his sister Diane (Bedford) and brother Timothy.

Terry was born July 6, 1938 to Dr. Terry C. and Blanche (Stover) Bennett in Los Angeles, California. His academic promise was identified early at Polytechnic Day School, and he went on to major in Zoology at University of Southern California, with the intent to follow in his physician father’s footsteps.  His medical board examination scores revealed an astounding intellect, prompting his advisor to encourage Terry to take a break from working toward a pre-med degree, and spend his senior year studying art, culture and the German language at university in Vienna, Austria. Upon his return, Terry was accepted at Harvard Medical School on a full merit scholarship. Years later, and after service to the country as a National Health Service Officer providing medical care to Peace Corps volunteers in Morocco,  and to residents of a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, he furthered his education by returning to Harvard School of Public Health for a Masters in Public Health.

As a newly transplanted Californian in Boston, Terry saw his way through medical school by engaging his love of all things mechanical, and converted a corner of the freshman medical school dorm parking lot into his emporium. He bought and sold old Volkswagens and roll top desks, establishing himself amongst his classmates as a delightful eccentric whose passion for the art of medicine was rivaled only by his intense creative curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit.

His love of autos, art, and antiques endured his entire life and figured enormously in his legacy. He owned and operated both an antique store: Gargoyles and Griffins, and a used/exotic car business: The Nickeled Stork. His patients adored the fact that he ran these businesses simultaneously from his eclectic medical practice in Hampton Falls.

Terry always felt indebted to the profession of medicine and to the school he loved. In 1991, his magnificent collection of Bugattis, Mercedes, Rolls Royce, Hispano Suizas, Ferarris, and many other European classics, along with a selection of American sprint cars, was donated to Harvard Medical School and School of Public Health. At the time, the “Harvard Collection” represented one of the school’s largest individual contributions, and gained Terry membership in Harvard’s Ezekiel Hersey Society. He used to drive down to attend the meetings in a battered VW rabbit. Terry’s generous gift will be funding scholarships for some of the world’s finest medical students in perpetuity.

Terry was active as a physician up until weeks before his passing. He called the art of practicing medicine ‘graceful’. His profession took him from inner city emergency rooms in Los Angeles, to medical directorships in West African nations with both the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and the Pathfinder Fund; to a busy general practice in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to bustling offices in Hampton Falls and Rochester NH. He used his razor sharp intelligence, along with prodigious language abilities in French, German and Arabic, to provide care for the homeless, vagrants, prisoners, blue collar workers, immigrants, business people, Saudi royalty and unique individuals of all sorts. He frequently provided free treatment for those who needed it, and always felt deeply blessed to do so.

He was a rather athletic and daring fellow. He loved adrenaline-laced water sports such as competitive high diving, scuba and skin diving, spear fishing, and his all-time favorite pastime: surfing in the friendly Caribbean waters of the British Virgin Islands.

He enjoyed perusing museums, collecting crazy, rare, beautiful, curious, objects from flea markets and auctions, fighting for the underdog, celebrating the unique and glorious accomplishments of his children, patting the heads of all good dogs, and spending time at his two island homes: one on Chebeague Island, Maine, and the other overlooking the surf break on Tortola, BVI.

There will be no services; a Celebration of Life will be held at the Governor’s Inn in Rochester on Sunday, December 1, 2019 from 1-4pm.  Patriots jerseys optional.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to non-profit health care concerns.

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Condolences for the family of “Terry Michael Bennett, M.D., M.P.H”

Condolence from Ewen on October 2nd, 2019 9:13 am

I miss him. Sending all the love I can to everyone there.

Condolence from Michael Grunko on October 2nd, 2019 10:18 am

Terry’s life story was full of fascinating twists and turns. As a physician he knew more about life, and death than most of us. I believe that he brought grace and dignity to his battle with the illnesses that he finally surrendered to.

His manifold interests made almost every meeting with him an adventure. It was a joy to know Terry.

I will miss him.

Condolence from Laurie Harward on October 2nd, 2019 10:40 am

Beautifully written. We love you💛

Condolence from Liz Wilson on October 2nd, 2019 4:50 pm

Were it not for this brilliant man I would not be here- I will be forever grateful …Liz Wilson

Condolence from Steph Monza on October 2nd, 2019 7:11 pm

I will miss your stories….your humor…your intelligence…and mostly the twinkle in your eyes.
RIP Dear Friend

Condolence from James Boehm on October 2nd, 2019 8:17 pm

Sorry to hear of your loss….your Island family grieves with you….Kim

Condolence from Alexandra Collins on October 3rd, 2019 2:18 am

Terry will be missed by us all, he will live on in all his family say and do and in everyone’s heart.

Condolence from Christina on October 3rd, 2019 2:26 am

Beautifully written summary of an astounding man who not only lived his life to the fullest but who fully contributed to life as well. What a gift he was! And what an inspiration. Sending much love.

Condolence from Viv Macedo on October 3rd, 2019 7:54 am

We are so very sorry to hear of Dr. Bennett’s passing. He took care of our family for over 25 years. Always there with a smile, great stories and anecdotes. Bought his book at our last visit, great read of some of his adventures, experiences, challenges. We will miss him, forever grateful for the care he gave our family, the stories, the advise. Rest in Peace, Terry. You were one of a kind!

Condolence from Lloyd-Rees family on October 3rd, 2019 8:50 am

Sorry to hear this news. Our thoughts are with you

Condolence from Pommy Hatfield on October 3rd, 2019 9:05 am

I am saddened by Terry’s passing. What a beautifully written tribute.

I will always remember the times he and I dickered at the numerous Island Commons yard sales he attended! Terry always won, but ended up filling cars and trucks with his purchases. Both of us were smiling!

I will send a donation to the Commons in honor of this memorable man.


Condolence from HEIDI M STRONG on October 3rd, 2019 11:36 am

I am truly sorry to hear of Terry’s Passing. He was a good friend and doctor to my Dad Robbie Parsons who passed away 4 years ago. He was our family doctor for the whole family. Not only was he a phenominal Doctor but friend as well. He will be missed by the Parsons, Strong and Govoni Family. REST IN PEACE TERRY, We will see you in the otherside someday.

Condolence from Tammi Truax on October 4th, 2019 7:04 am

I am deeply sorry for your loss which I know is enormous. WIll be thinking of you and Persephone. Please get in touch with me at the email below when you are feeling up to it.
(and Grace)

Condolence from Steve Harris on October 7th, 2019 11:39 am

Hi Piper and Persephone,
I just read the notice in the Chebeague news. Although we know Terry had been waging war with cancer for a long time, it seemed like he just wouldn’t give in. I am saddened a great deal now. John and I offer great condolence to you both and your family whom I don’t believe I know. Terry was all those thing in the memoriam you wrote, but put simply, a wonderful, wonderful man… I will miss him,
Steve and John

Condolence from Gary and Frankie Bennett on October 8th, 2019 11:51 am

Dear Piper,

We were so sorry to hear of the passing of Terry and send you and Persephone our sympathy and best wishes going forward after loosing such an accomplished, dynamic and compassionate person from your lives. He was a Bennett cousin for Gary, who we never had the opportunity to connect with often and regret we did not make that happen more frequently. Certainly, he had great love and pride in his family and we wish you the gift of cherished memories going forward.

Condolence from Vance on October 22nd, 2019 1:15 pm

He was my friend

Rev. Tony Vance

Condolence from Sue on November 1st, 2019 11:02 am

I’d been Terry’s patient for 30+ years. The very first time I met him, I was struck by his compassion candor. He was as bright as he was brilliant. When you sought his counsel, you could be certain that he would be forthright, even if that’s not what you wanted to hear.

In the decades to follow, there were so many instances when he lent a hand or referred me to someone that he knew would help. He was just that kind of person.

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