Utah obstetrician credited with 17,000 deliveries dies on vacation
COTTONWOOD, Utah – A Utah doctor who passed away while on vacation in Holland is being remembered for his kindness, dedication to patients, and for delivering an astounding number of babies.
Stephen Terry, M.D., died on Monday in Holland, after suffering a heart attack during a bike ride with his wife and friends. The 67-year-old leaves behind a wife and four children.
“They’d done 30 miles already and had 10 more to go and considered getting in the van,” said Dr. Richard Irion, who worked with Terry his entire career. “Typical of Steve, he decided to soldier on.”
Terry practiced for nearly four decades at Cottonwood OBGYN and was planning to retire soon.
“We’ve all been grief stricken,” Irion added.
Co-workers, patients and family members reacted with shock and disbelief at the untimely death of a trusted friend.
“It’s been just an honor to know him all these years,” said Dr. Jeff Labrum, who also worked at Cottonwood OBGYN.
Terry’s tireless commitment to his patients and family stood out as his defining attributes.
“I’m not sure he did sleep much—I don’t think he did,” Labrum said. “He was always busy, always involved.”
In fact, his office crunched the numbers and believes he delivered more than 17,000 babies during his career.
“One summer, he had 55 deliveries of his own in June, 45 in July and 60 in August,” former coworker Dr. Ron Larkin said.
Such numbers astounded even his partners, who were also busy with large numbers of patients.
“You don’t see that much in this day and age anymore,” Labrum explained, “someone who will make every effort to be there for every delivery.”
Terry’s longtime nurse recalls fond memories from working alongside a man who had a unique quality of making everyone feel important.
“He wanted everyone to be happy,” said Cyndee Seare, a nurse at Terry’s office. “He never got mad at me one time, not one time in 34 years.”
Even though he didn’t make it to retirement, his daughter says Terry lived life with no regrets.
“He loved creating love,” said Stephanie Strasser, Terry’s youngest child. “He just could not get the family together enough. That is what brought him the greatest joy.”
Patients said Terry had the ability to calm them down in stressful situations and also cheer them up during difficult times.
“He was so good at making you feel like you were his one and only patient,” Ashley Erekson, a patient of Dr. Terry. “He was present, he was engaged and that’s amazing because he saw a lot of patients.”
“He knew me by name,” said McKenna Tracy, a patient of Dr. Terry. “I’m sad that he’s gone.”
Those who knew him best, said Terry always focused on people first and how to address their needs.
“Each of the grandkids and each of us kids feel like we’re the favorite because that’s how he made you feel,” Strasser went on to say.
“He made everyone feel like they were number one,” Seare remembers.
Terry’s body is still in Holland, where his wife and two of his sons are arranging to bring him home to Utah.
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