Terry didn't look well the last time I saw him a couple of months ago.
He sat at his desk at Peachtree Presbyterian Church as usual. After we traded stories about our common a-fib affliction, Terry told me he was undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
The longtime director of the youth sports program at Peachtree Presbyterian, Terry Massar recently lost his battle. He passed away at age 74, surrounded by his loving family, according to his Atlanta Journal-Constitution obituary.
Generations of Atlanta children learned lessons of teamwork and sportsmanship playing in Terry's youth leagues. Terry was a smiling presence on wintertime Saturdays as girls and boys teams from elementary age to high school played simultaneous games on the church's two courts. Electric scoreboards and refs in zebra shirts calling fouls added to the excitement as dads, moms and siblings cheered from the gym's stands.
Each of my children played on PPC teams, from early childhood through middle school. I also know Terry's son, Todd, who helped coach my daughter's soccer team at North Atlanta High, and coached the boys' team there.
After my children had grown, I saw Terry often when I went to work out at Peachtree Presbyterian Church's gym. I always stopped by Terry's desk near the church's entrance to chat. One frequent topic was college sports; Terry loved his Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Terry took pride in being a native Atlantan, increasingly rare in a city of transplants. He grew up near Georgia Tech in the Home Park neighborhood, developed in 1901 for Atlantic Steel workers. He was a championship golfer for the Fighting Irish of Home Park's O'Keefe High, one of Atlanta's long vanished neighborhood schools. Terry later played for Tech, and captained Georgia State's golf team. Terry also played for awhile on the PGA tour, according to his obituary.
Several Saturdays earlier this year, I witnessed the basketball league's pleasant confusion, unchanged from when my kids played at the church decades before. The youngsters arrived and departed in their multicolored PPC uniforms, shepherded by beaming parents and grandparents, some of whom had probably played there themselves.
Terry built a program of continuity, one of the enduring Buckhead rituals of childhood and family. Whenever I see a youngster dribbling or making a bucket at a PPC game, I'll imagine Terry smiling.