Thomas Joseph "Terry" Tereshinski Sr., a former junior high and high school teacher and football coach, died of respiratory failure Thursday at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The Galesville resident was 86.
Born in Glen Lyon, Pa., Mr. Tereshinski attended Newport Township High School and Dickinson Seminary in Pennsylvania. His football coach called him Terry, a shortened version of his last name, and it became a nickname that stuck, said his wife of 58 years, the former Mary Ruth Woodfield.
A football scholarship to Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College, opened the doors to higher education to Mr. Tereshinski, who came from "a family of football players," said his wife, who met him in a Western Maryland physical education class. His brother, Joseph Tereshinski of Bethesda, played for the Washington Redskins from 1947 to 1954.
Despite his skill as a college quarterback and fullback, Mr. Tereshinski's "first love" was baseball, his wife said. He was Western Maryland's catcher and might have had a professional career had he not been wounded during World War II.
Mr. Tereshinski was drafted into the Army in 1943 and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Wounded in the leg, he underwent 25 operations over the course of 33 months. He was retired as a captain in 1947 and was awarded a Purple Heart.
Baseball teammate John Robinson, who became one of Mr. Tereshinski's close friends, described him as "a very humble gentleman."
"Terry was everybody's best friend," Mr. Robinson said.
After receiving his bachelor's degree in history in 1949 from Western Maryland, Mr. Tereshinski taught at Annapolis Junior High School.
His injury didn't keep him from sports: He coached football and baseball at Western Maryland and was head football coach from 1963 to 1973 at Southern Junior-Senior High School, later Southern High School, in Anne Arundel, where he taught history, his wife said.
"It was a lifelong dream of his to coach," Mrs. Tereshinski said.
He retired from teaching in 1977, she said, and worked as a real estate salesman. Mr. Tereshinski enjoyed fishing and crabbing, and avidly kept abreast of world events.
Among his many accolades, Mr. Tereshinski was inducted into the Green Terror Sports Hall of Fame at McDaniel College in 1996.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Galesville United Methodist Church, 4825 Church Lane in Galesville.
In addition to his wife and brother, survivors include a son, Thomas J. Tereshinski of Owings; a sister, Pauline Kashefski of Nanticoke, Pa.; and one grandson.