Fred Terino lived a most unusual life.
He was born and reared on the west side of town in Auburn, during the post-depression era of the 1930s into a household of eight children. “Curious and fearless!” his brothers would describe him later when recalling his many feats. Fred, as a youngster, never backed down or away from a challenge — a trait that would characterize his long life.
The defining moment of his journey came in his teens, shortly before enlisting in the U.S. Army at age 17, when he was rushed to the operating room with a ruptured appendix. He vowed that if God spared his life he would dedicate the rest of his days to His service.
Fred was stationed in Alaska as a medic where he was introduced, as he would later recall, to the “fresh and exiting message of the Gospel.” His path became clear; he would spend his life proclaiming to others that there can be hope and redemption for all. With the aid of the GI Bill, Fred graduated from Prairie Bible Institute located in Alberta, Canada, and then from Columbia International University in South Carolina (formerly Columbia Bible College) where he received his ordination.
He met his wife of more than 50 years, Jean Rebecca Plimpton, while pastoring a small New England church. Together, in the late 1950s, they founded the Northeastern Gospel Crusade, an organization that promoted a conservative approach to the Bible, and also the Bible Institute of New England where Fred served as president.
In 1964 Fred, Jean, and family voyaged to Italy where the couple lived for 50 years. They first settled in Perugia where they reared their six children and then relocated to Urbino. While remaining faithful to the pastoral calling, Fred continued his biblical studies at the seminary in Assisi and at the theological university in Urbino, expanding his knowledge of biblical scholarship and Old Testament Hebrew. He was the author of three published books. The recent reprinting of his theological books Le Origini Bibbia e Mitologia and Chi Ha Scritto I “Cinque Libri Di Mose?” is a testimony to his contributions to biblical studies. His volumes can be found in many Italian theological institutions, regardless of denomination.
Fred’s passion was interacting with university students whether it was teaching Hebrew and Old Testament history to a small group, or in a larger venue such as the Centro Studentesco, where he would hold weekly conferences on current issues. Their home, or the “casa Terino,” as it came to be known, became the welcoming center for college students from all continents.
For many years Fred and Jean endeavored tirelessly to bring their message to the people they came in contact with. Rarely has anyone witnessed such a harmony of purpose and dedication in any two people; they were inseparable. Their living testimony of love has left a lasting imprint on so very many.
We children remember with smiling hearts the centerpiece of our home’s unique furnishings, the ping pong table. Our father always had a fun way of rattling our nerves with his quirky paddle movements — part of his winning strategy. Family Bible reading and prayer were a central part of our daily life. Music and books also occupied a prominent place in our home. All six children attended a music conservatory and were exhorted to perform for our guests, much to our father’s delight when such a request was honored. On many winter nights by the fireplace, we heard the tale of Frodo Baggins, of Toad from The Wind In The Willows and the stories of Narnia read by him in his soft melodious voice. His fun loving disposition was tempered by the serious nature of his vocation, but on the beaches of the Adriatic, on a long tour to Calabria, or on a mountaintop hike we would revel in his contagious joy of just being together.
At age 86, he was a quiet man lost in the memories of his younger days, smiling with ease, capturing the hearts of those around him. He was the grandfather with the professorial white beard ready to sing Praise The Savior at anytime and anywhere. He was content in the simple pleasures of spending time with his family, never asking for anything, secure in the thought that in a new lightness of being he would soon, once again, be embraced by his beloved Jean.
Fred was predeceased by his wife, Jean; his youngest son, Timothy Joel; his granddaughter, Stephanie Lynn, and by all of his siblings, Samuel, James, Louise, Ralph, Josephine, Anthony, and Mary.
He is survived by his daughter, Elisabeth McCarthy (Eugene); his sons, Jonathan (Emma), David (Adelheid), Daniel (Sharon), and Joseph (Heidi); his daughter-in-law, Takako; 11 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
All are welcome to attend a memorial celebration of his life to be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 13 in Willard Memorial Chapel, 17 Nelson St., Auburn, NY.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Syracuse Rescue Mission, 155 Gifford St., Syracuse, NY 13202.