Terence C. 'Terry' Severe, longtime floor refinisher for family business, dies

Terence Severe had cared for his father since the death of his mother, and was a Ravens and NASCAR fan.

Terence C. "Terry" Severe, who had worked for his family's floor-refinishing business for more than 40 years, died Jan. 8 of cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.

The Hunt Valley resident was 59.

"I've worked with Terry for the last 12 years, and he was an amazing guy. It was always a pleasure knowing that he'd be on the job. Now that he's gone, it is just heartbreaking," said Steve G. Johnson, a Baltimore contractor.

"It was his professionalism and the quality of the work. He was always very serious about what he was doing. The job was more important than himself," said Mr. Johnson. "He really cared about the client's homes and was the first person to offer to help move heavy furniture."

The son of Bernard A. "Bernie" Severe, who established Bernie Severe & Sons Wood Floors in 1950, and Anne E. Kirwan, a Johns Hopkins Hospital nurse, Terence Charles Severe was born in Baltimore and raised in West Arlington.

After graduating in 1974 from Polytechnic Institute, Mr. Severe joined the family business.

"Terry was known in the Baltimore area as one of the premier wood-floor men with expertise in sanding and refinishing wood flooring," said a sister, M. Alice Powell of Ellicott City.

"We've been in business for 65 years, and our referrals are largely by word of mouth," said a brother, Lawrence P. "Larry" Severe of Taneytown, who is president of the business he now operates with a nephew.

The company has served generations of customers, many of them living in North Baltimore and along the York Road corridor, family members said.

Mr. Severe said his brother had a great rapport with their customers.

"Terry ran the big sander a lot. I've worked with him for 32 years, and he's been working here for over 40 years. He was a very strong person," his brother said.

"He always liked doing little things for people, and when he got done, the house was cleaner when he got there," he said. "He gave 100 percent every day."

Mr. Severe described his brother as "outgoing and always with a smile on his face. Everyone said he loved talking and laughing."

Victor "Larry" Boehm, owner of Boehm Associates LLC, a Baltimore construction consulting company, was a longtime friend of Mr. Severe, his father and his brothers.

"Terry was top-tier, as were his efforts and work," said Mr. Boehm. "I've known [the Severe family] for 40 years, and they are extremely dedicated to their work. They were always very pleasant to work with,"

Mr. Boehm said it was normal practice that construction companies would interview subcontractors.

"The Severes were so particular about their work that they would come to see if my projects were worth their services," said Mr. Boehm. "They were known as high-caliber people in the trade. They all had very high standards."

Mr. Severe had not retired at the time of his death.

For the last decade, since the death of his mother in 1995, he had lived with his father in Hunt Valley.

"Terry took care of Dad after Mom died," said his brother.

Mr. Severe was diagnosed with the inoperable cancer that took his life a week after his father's death in November.

Mr. Severe was a fan of Maryland sports and enjoyed having friends and family over to watch games.

"Terry loved the Ravens and NASCAR, and on Sundays he had people over and would be watching a Ravens game and a NASCAR race at the same time while cooking food on his grill," his brother said.

He also enjoyed traveling and went to Aruba in winters to go scuba diving.

Mr. Severe was a supporter of the Rotary Club of Baltimore and was "known for lending a hand wherever needed," family members said.

Services were private.

In addition to his brother and sister, Mr. Severe is survived by his daughter, Caitlin E. Severe of Glen Burnie; three other brothers, Robert J. Severe of Baltimore, David P. Severe of Sparks and Philip Severe of Birmingham, Ala.; six other sisters, Bernadette E. Michel of Randallstown, Judith M. Camak of Owings Mills, Anita S. Lenes of Woodbine, Michele L. Severe of Hampstead, Elizabeth K. Gant of Ashburn, Va., and Patricia A. Rom of Tampa, Fla. His marriage ended in divorce.

frasmussen@baltsun.com

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