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PASSAGES Terry Readdus, 1948-2015
Obituary
2015-07-07

This article shared 10472 times since Tue Jul 7, 2015
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Terry was an original gender rebel, a description he adored. An only child, he came from 2 generations of Marines! Needless to say, he broke that link. From an early age, he was interested in fashion, the haute couture kind. He got a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago in fashion design but dropped out after a semester because he did not like its formal approach.

He found the love of his life in Darryl and they were together 41 years. Partners in life and livelihood, Terry designed and Darryl tailored. They had a very successful business based in New York City and Chicago with clients who stayed with them for years so they often ended up clothing 3 generations of a family. They also designed and sewed for the stars of the Jewel Box Review and many other female impersonator stars. Their longest design history was for Chicago's world reknown gospel group, Delois Barrett Campbell and the Barrett Sisters. Their performing outfits are still works of art!

Terry spent most of the last years of his life caring for others. He and Darryl relocated to Chicago to care for Terry's beloved mother. The Darryl got sick and Terry cared for him. Darryl died before they were able to go back to New York to get married. The lack of equal marriage in Illinois and Darryl's death really impoverished Terry.

With Darryl's death, Terry for the first time in his life had to function on his own. His last several years were such a learning experience for him! He had to learn how to navigate government systems, deal with a bank, qualify for healthcare, get free transportation and move into a place by himself that he had chosen for himself. He also had to deal with a cellphone and personal finances. He kept meticulous notes and whenever he went out or had an appointment, he dressed for the occasion in outfits that he designed and Darryl sewed.

In his youth, Terry was a marvelous dancer and as he aged, he always appreciated the human form. Friends throughout his life became really extended family. He had a great sense of humor and did not miss much. He loved the view from his Town Hall Apartment studio and the fact that he could walk everywhere. For the first time in his life, he lived alone and could set his own schedule. And until his death, he loved correcting anyone who referred to him as "she" so he was a gender rebel until the end.

Terry suffered a massive heart attack on a CTA bus when he was coming home from a matinee of "Carousel" at the Lyric Opera. At the memorial service for fellow Town Hall residents, "I'll Fly Away" by Delois Barrett Campbell and the Barrett Sisters was played.

Many thanks to the staff of Center on Halsted Senior programs.

He leaves no known survivors.

by Ellen Meyers


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