Terry was born July 15, 1937, in Milwaukee and on Wednesday, March 17, in Los Angeles, she died from cancer at age 61. Terry was one of the producers of Hour 25, the longest running science fiction show on radio, it's now in its 27th year. Terry had been involved from the very beginning when her former husband, Mike Hodel, created the program with the help of Mitch Harding.
She had worked and/or volunteered at KPFK for 30 years and is perhaps best known to listeners as the voice of The Calendar, not just on Hour 25 but also for KPFK. She did the Hour 25 calendar "a capella" for many years until someone suggested putting music behind the words. There after Mike told us it was "Time to go off into the starscape and listen to Terry and the calendar." Once he mentioned that this, "Sounds like a rock group... And now here's Terry And The Calendar!"
While the calendar was the most obvious work Terry did, she also produced some special programs for Hour 25; one on women in science fiction and another collecting lectures from scientist such as Carl Sagan.
Terry stayed in the background, it was unusual to hear her voice on the show other than doing the calendar. I can only vaguely remember her doing one interview and that was many many years ago, I'm not even sure of the date.
I guess the thing that will stay with and bother me the most is the same thing that happened when Mike Hodel died. I talked to Mike a month or so before he died and had no idea he was sick, so I didn't thank him for creating Hour 25 and all the work he put into the show. With Terry I had a vague idea that she wasn't well when I talked to her but even so I didn't thank her for doing The Calendar and for helping get the archives started on the road to being on CD. Perhaps someday I'll learn is that you really do need to thank people at the time and not put it off.
I can only hope she knows how much I appreciate all the work she did and, as I've kept my promise to Mike to keep the archives going, so also make and keep a promise to her that I'll put the Hour 25 archives on CD before the tapes go bad and can't be recovered.
So what I will say to you who are reading this is simple; stop committing random acts of senseless kindness and start doing consistent acts of thoughtful kindness; these do far more good and, if I'd followed my own advice, I would have done the sensible thing and thanked Terry, not to mention Mike, when I had the chance rather than waiting until it was too late and all I could do was put up a web page.
I thank you Terry for all your help.
Here's what The Calendar sounded like.
In this life there are persons who bring light into the darkness, who ennoble our world and show us how good and gracious people can be. Terry Hodel was one such person.
But her light now shines in a different place. A better place.
Death did not find her an easy victim. She fought long and hard - with courage that we can but envy, and held off death for many years by the shear strength of her will.
Terry was many things to those of us who knew and loved her. She was, and remains, the heart and soul of Hour 25. She was a living example of grace and gentleness in the face of adversity. And she was my friend and mentor.
I could speak of how she bore up under the ravages of a disease that savaged her body. Of how she always had a cheerful greeting whenever I saw her. Not long before the end, I met her at the station and she responded to my 'hi how you doing' with a cheerful 'Just fine', even though it was obvious she was wasn't. Over the past few years the cancer that attacked her, left her needing help with even the simplest of daily activities. But that didn' t stop her.
Hell, it hardly slowed her down. Each week she was at the station to compile and read the calendar. She was always ready to talk with me about guests or show topics or how we might make Hour 25 better. She didn't use her illness as an excuse to not do the things she believed in. She did them anyway. She just saw her condition just as a problem to be solved.
Which she did each week, with dignity and grace.
Terry was a kind and forgiving person to all, even to those who had treated her cruelly. I could tell you of the kindness and understanding she showed to persons who tried to take advantage of her or force her away from the things she loved. But to do that would be to show just how vile certain individuals are. And Terry would not have me do that.
No. We should focus on the thing that she loved most dearly. The work she did on Hour 25.
One of the proudest days in my life was when she invited me to host Hour 25. And some of my happiest memories were from the times Terry and I spent discussing the show and planning things we would do.
She showed me that often you speak loudest with a moment of thoughtful silence and that you shine the brightest when you help someone else to shine brighter. I looked forward to discussing the show with her and treasured those moments when her commentary on the show was, "that was tasty'.
She was always a quiet presence on Hour 25, prefering to let other people stand out in the glare of public attention, but she was and remains the heart and soul of the show. While she was with us, she was a source of knowledge and inspiration. Now she will remain an inspiration and guide as I ask myself, "what would Terry have wanted".
We will honor Terry's memory by doing that which was most important to her. My word as my bond. As long as there is air in my lungs, we'll continue on with Hour 25. Just as we have for 28 years and just as we shall for as long as people think and dream about the possibilities this world has to offer.
Terry will be missed by all of us who knew her. And my thoughts go out to each of you for your loss. My special thoughts go out to Joel Farr who was Terry's constant companion over the last years. I know that Joel meant very much to her and that she meant much to him. My words cannot express their feelings for each other but my thoughts are with Joel in this time of his special loss.
Terry was passionate about many things, but one of the most important to her was literacy - for without that persons are cut off from the wealth of knowledge, history and dreams that our culture has to offer. Before her death she asked that people not send flowers but rather they should make a donation in her name to California Literacy.
Each week Terry brought us news from the starscape. Her gentle voice flowed out on a radio signal that reached up to the very stars and traveled toward the edge of time and space. Now and forever, Terry will be a part of the starscape that she loved so much.
No one is ever really dead. Not as long as we remember them and speak their names to others. Not as long as the influence they had on us lives on in our words and deeds. And by that measure Terry will be with us forever, for she changed everyone who was lucky enough to know her.
You will see her every time you speak kindly of someone when your first instinct would be to lash out at them. She will live on in whenever you find the strength to face adversity and not shrink from the challenges that life throws at you. She will live on whenever you follow your dreams to wherever they lead you.
Terry's body may be gone from us now. But her heart and soul will live on in each one of us.
If you would like to make a donation in memory of Terry Hodel you can do so by sending a check to
California Literacy Inc.
2028 E. Villa Street
Please make sure to note on your check that this is a donation in the memory of Terry Hodel.