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Terry was born in Bluefield, WVA. He served in the US Navy during World War II and the Korean War. He received an AB from Stanford University, a General Secondary Credential from San Jose State College (now University), and an MA in political science and economics from San Jose State. After entering the Foreign Service, he did advanced study in development economics for State at UC Berkeley. Terry taught in senior high school Oakland, Calif. (1954-55).
He entered the US Foreign Service in 1957 and served in Egypt, Syria, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines (Economic-Commercial Counselor), and Brazil (Consul General Sao Paulo). On assignment for State, he served as Chairman of International Studies at the National War College and as Deputy Director for Counterterrorism in State. He was appointed to Senior Foreign Service Rank of Minister Counselor by President Reagan. Retiring from Foreign Service in 1984, he served as consultant in various capacities to State and other agencies until 2001. He is author, co-author, editor of six books on foreign policy issues, most recently a collection of essays called Palestine: In Need of a Just God.
Terry and his wife Yvonne now reside in Central Wisconsin. Terry teaches foreign policy classes in the LIFE (adult education) program of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point; he is on the Editorial Board of the Stevens Point Journal; and he is President Elect of the Rotary Club of Stevens Point.