On July 16, the pavilion at the Linwood Community Library was filled with family, friends and community members whose lives were touched by the generosity and love of Terry White. She was the unofficial mayor of Linwood and was like a mother to the community, watching over it and helping it grow.
To honor Terry’s countless contributions to the community, the pavilion was dedicated in her honor and a sitting area behind the pavilion was placed on the spot where Terry could always be found at functions.
“There will be a plaque on the chair, and it will say ‘dedicated in love,’” Tracey Valach said. “Terry – at every Farmers Market – would be over there in an Adirondack style camping chair that was black with white flowers, and she would just take it all in. She would have her ‘mayor’ meetings and everybody could come talk to her and she could network.
“It just seemed right that her memorial overlooked the space,” she added, speaking of the memorial site.
When Terry and her husband, Steve, moved to Snowshoe from Cross Lanes in 2000, Linwood was just a historical town which became part of Snowshoe as the resort area grew.
The couple worked at the Raven Golf Course and volunteered where they were needed in the community.
When they lived in Cross Lanes, Terry was the treasurer at Cross Lanes Methodist Church – where the couple married – and was active at the daycare center.
That connection is what led to the first of many projects Terry took on for the town of Linwood.
In 2012, she and Valach started the Linwood Daycare, located in the same building as the library.
“She was on the original board and was a big proponent with that and a huge advocate for starting us off on the right foot when it comes to health and nutrition from day one,” Valach said. “We were one of the first centers to have best practices when it comes to nutrition because when we opened our doors, we were already established.”
Two years later, the Linwood Alive! non-profit was founded and from there, the community grew exponentially. The organization continued to support the day care and library, but grew to include a community garden, day care garden, the pavilion, Farmers Market, a mountain bike pump track and mountain bike trail.
“She wrote grants to the Department of Agriculture, and we started the high tunnel,” Steve said. “That’s where that came from. Then we got hooked up with Grow Appalachia almost six years ago and they sponsored community gardens. We started doing the community garden here and then we went from here to Green Bank, which is no longer there because they sold the property, and to Marlinton. We started the community garden there. And there’s a community garden in Durbin.”
Steve was always by Terry’s side in her projects, and he played a large role in the development of the community gardens throughout the county.
Terry became known as a woman on a mission when it came to seeking funds for projects. It got to the point that every time Terry and Steve would attend a Pocahontas County Commission meeting, the commissioners would jokingly reach for their wallets to protect them.
“Jamie Walker was on there and I’d tell him ‘better hold on to your billfold,’” Steve recalled, laughing. “She was good friends with Walt [Helmick], too. We’ve known him for a long time. I’d always tell him – ‘hide your billfold, Walt, here comes Terry.’”
“She knew how to network,” Valach added. “She knew who could fund what projects.”
Terry continued to be active and served as treasurer at the Mace Methodist Church and was on the boards of Davis Health Care, Valley Heath Care and the Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce. She was also co-founder of the Linwood Day Care and board chair of Linwood Alive!
Around December 2021, Terry was placed on the transplant list for a liver transplant and was awaiting a transplant when she passed away April 23.
“We went down there on Friday for a pre-transplant visit with the transplant doctor,” Steve said. “They called us Saturday morning and they said, ‘you need to come back’ because she got an infection. It went downhill from there. She was still on the transplant list until Tuesday.”
“Monday, when we were in the hospital, she was sassy as ever,” Valach said. “Made some snotty comment about something, just being herself. She had been on antibiotics at that point for over forty-eight hours and we thought they were going to transplant her and the next time I saw her was going to be in recovery. Things just went south so fast.”
Terry’s legacy will live on in the Linwood Community, and every time there is an event at the pavilion, her spirit will surely be holding court in the Adirondack chair under the shade tree, taking in all the love and laughter of the community and enjoying the fruits of her labor.