Taking Care of Business

Bud Ter Har, center, with (from left) sons Jeff and Peter.

When 28-year-old William "Bud"?Andrew Ter Har and his young bride Jean chose to make Seaside their home in the early 1950s, the town they saw was a beautiful place to settle and - as Bud saw many things throughout his remarkable life - ripe for opportunity.

The third of six children and the first son, he and his older siblings ran as a pack of adventuresome pals in a family with not much money but an abundance of love and sharing, two qualities that wove themselves throughout Bud's life.

Peter, the elder of Bud and Jean's two sons, tells the story of a young Bud and his elder sisters Betty Ann and Agnes. Short on cash but wanting their favorite candy bar, they decided that dividing one into three pieces beat the option of going without. The Snickers "divide and unite" story became family legend.

"Years ago, we were all in Denver attending a family funeral," said Peter. "On our way to the service, Dad pulls the car up in front of his old neighborhood grocery market. 'Why are we stopping?' we all wanted to know. Exit Dad, returning shortly, a Snickers in hand to be lovingly tucked into the casket - literally a sweet memory and a sweet send-off."

s it was for so many young men of his era, World War II interrupted college dreams. The Marines noted his pre-med college studies and Bud spent three years of active duty with the Medical Corps. Returning to the United States and eager to turn ideas into action, Bud abandoned his medical school dreams and went shopping for opportunities.

He got more than he bargained for when spending a weekend with a college buddy. Wandering into a dance, "zing went the strings of his heart," and life as he knew it was about to hand him a major bonus. The band's lead singer, Jean Harrison, sang her way into his heart. In keeping with his strong sense of self-determination, he finagled an introduction, followed by a date. By the third date, Bud had proposed to Jean, who promptly turned him down.

With his typical go-get-'em perseverance, he pursued the songbird until she was likewise smitten.

Their love song lasted 62 years.

Jean Ter Har said with a twinkle in her eye, "He told me of his interest in medicine. We married and I said, 'And all this time I thought I was marrying a doctor!'"

A businessman, a lifetime athlete ("Give him a ball and he would run with it, hit it or coach you with it," said his wife), a community organizer and supporter of a myriad of organizations, he was a man who made things work. Famous for "doing it his way," in 1951 he and Jean founded Ter Har's, a trend-setting clothing store first located in Seaside and later with branches in Long Beach, Wash., Astoria and Cannon Beach. Bud developed commercial properties, served his community as president of the Chamber of Commerce, worked with the Seaside School Board, Seaside Kids Inc., the Miss Oregon Pageant, and the list goes on.

As he did with family and friends, Bud actively took care of what he cared about. His friend Bob Murray said, "You never saw Bud far from his tool belt. Even after he retired, you'd find him perched high up on a ladder repairing something on one of the buildings the family owned." Jeff, the younger of the Ter Hars' sons, was spotted after a recent cold snap repairing some water damage up on what was probably Bud's ladder, wearing the same tool belt. When a passerby stopped to say hello and offer some advice, Jeff with a warm smile called down, "Where's Dad when you need him? He knew where every pipe and connection was to anything he ever owned."

As longtime friend Janice Murray noted, "Bud did remarkable things as a businessman in our community, but what set him apart was the unconditional love he gave to family and friends. I've never seen anything like it. As teenagers, my friend Sissy and I used to just hang out around Ter Har's. Bud was like the Pied Piper to us. It's not that you could get away with anything. If you did something wrong, he was the first to call you on it. But no matter what you did, right or wrong, he was always there for you."

If you observe the Ter Har family, you see them not as a single person but as a bundle - Bud, Jean, Peter, Jeff, their wives and the delight of Bud's life, the grandchildren. Now as a living memory, Bud has no trouble making his presence felt. You'll hear all kinds of labels put on Bud, but the one that sticks out most prominently is: If you were a friend of his, you were a friend forever.

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