Terrence Owen Wisner, 72, passed away on January 21, 2024, at home in Green Valley, AZ. He was born in the fall of 1951 in Hastings, MI, and raised in Grand Rapids. Terry was the son of Ted Owen Wisner and Eleanor June Everse.
Terry graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 1969 and attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he developed a lifelong loyalty to the athletic program. Though he moved out of state, Terry wore maize and blue to watch televised Wolverines games and also cheered on the Detroit Lions through many failed years.
After college, he was seduced by the call to be a mountain man. He drove railroad spikes near Essex, MT; horse-logged in Polebridge, MT; ran railroad salvage crews and leased tribal members' oil and gas rights throughout the northwest. He hitch-hiked and rode in freight cars.
He met his wife, Wendy, in the Mercer County Recorder's office in Beulah, ND, where both worked as landmen researching mineral rights for oil and gas leasing purposes. They married on June 27, 1981, and lived in Whitehall, MT, until their house burned down, and they moved to Butte for 14 years before rebuilding. Terry and Wendy became snowbirds in 2013, migrating seasonally between Whitehall and Arizona.
In 1983, Terry was hired as Petroleum Land Manager for the Montana Power Company. He later held positions in gas transportation, producer services, and gas and power marketing. Terry was entrepreneurial, and in 2000, amidst upheavals at the utility, he left to form Jefferson Energy Trading Company (JETCO) and worked for three years from his Whitehall basement. JETCO continues natural gas trading and marketing from its Butte office, led by Terry's son Sean.
Terry's greatest passion was fly fishing. He passed on a closet full of flies and feathers and hooks yet untied. With family and friends, he bone-fished the Bahamas yearly for two decades. He caught redfish off Louisiana; Peacock bass in Manaus, Brazil; and salmon in Alaska; and was tormented by mosquitoes while fishing in Kamchatka, Russia. He preferred streamers to dries.
"Wiz" knew the waters of Montana and favored the Middle Fork of the Flathead, the Smith River, and mountain lakes. He owned property on the Jefferson River starting in 1980, most recently a 150-acre ranch with a breathtaking valley view. Terry was not a rancher but he loved working with his sons, clearing and fencing, planting trees and gardens.
Terry was always physically active. He lettered in high school wrestling and cross country, played Old Ozzie softball and racquetball in Butte, and bicycled the nearly 600-mile Park to Park ride (Glacier to Yellowstone) to benefit CASA for foster children. In Green Valley, his love of tennis brought many friendships and a spot on the 7.0 USTA team. He took several bike trips in Europe and Southeast Asia with Wendy.
Terry and Wendy frequently hosted happy hours and dinners. He ran the Annual Jefferson River Bocce Invitational for 21 years and served Eggs Benedict to a New Year's crowd for most of three decades. Terry made and kept friends with ease. He was also a charitable person whose main focus was on education, particularly involving early childhood.
Terry was preceded in death by his parents, Ted and Harriet Wisner and Eleanor Haan, and brother, Brian James Wisner.
He is survived by his wife, Wendy Lynn Knox; son Sean Robert Wisner, wife Clara Belize Wisner, and their daughters, Alma James Wisner (3) and Maya Louise Wisner (2) of Whitehall, MT; son Brett Patrick Wisner and Rachael Ann Wisner, mother of their children, Owen Michael Wisner (8) and Ava Ann Wisner (6) of Norman, OK.
The family will gather privately in Terry's honor. His ashes will dwell in locations of his choice. For those inclined, donations in his memory may be made to continue his vision through the Wisner Family Foundation (501C3), 1053 Point of Rocks Road, Whitehall, MT 59759.