Sheila and her husband Ramsay Abraham stay at Fathima Villa, the house that Nat built. They have two children, Ramsay Jr., and Marise and three grandchildren, Shayna, Joshua and Nathaniel. I am grateful to Sheila for writing this at my request. - A.T.
Nathaniel (Nat) Simon Terry was born on 3rd July 1913 in the small town of
When Nat was only eight, his father passed away. Angelina then shifted to
After studies Nat joined Richardson & Cruddas as a trainee structural engineer. But he shifted his line and enrolled in the Madras Guards A.F. in 1938. He was posted at Fort St. George. Nat married Beryl Eliza Meyer of
Major Willie Rahm who was Nat’s Commanding Officer at MGAF recommended him to Br. Eleazor (Tich), the then Principal of Montfort Anglo Indian Boys’ High School, Yercaud. He was appointed as the Boxing & Physical Instructor and Study Master of Montfort in 1946. When the school started an NCC Wing, Nat was made its First Officer also.
While he was at Montfort, Nat’s boxing career rose to great heights. There was a string of victories over well-known opponents like the Suares brothers, ’Dusty’ Miller, ‘Kithery’ Muthu and Murugesan. Then he scored a historic victory against the ‘unbeatable’ Gunboat Jack. Shortly after that he won the title 'South Indian Boxing Champion' in 1949 - a crown which had not been wrested from him.
However, it was at this match that Nat, to some extent lost his zest for boxing as the other contender for the title, Mr. Arunachalam, lost his life in the ring. Nat always recalled this tournament with much regret. While defending his title for the next few years, he did not try to further his boxing career at the All India level
While all these were happening Nat never wavered in his efforts to meticulously coach his trainees at Montfort. He ensured that the young boxers did the school proud. To name a few of them - Brian Chapman, Paul Wilson, Renee Pears, Blair Williams, George Edwards, David Sundaram, the Tong brothers and P. Joseph Abraham.
Beryl passed away at the age of 56. That was in 1972, the same year that Nat retired from Montfort. Though lonely after his dear wife’s demise, he was blessed with a number of visitors who would call on him and this made up for his loss. Nat was simple in nature but had a strong personality, which wooed many people, young and old, who would spend hours listening to his boxing experiences and his life as a whole.
Nat loved people and he had friends in all walks of life. Music and dancing were his passion. He was a great Tap Dancer and the life of any party or get-together, as he loved to sing and entertain the gathering. He was affectionately known to all as ‘Papa’.On the 23rd of January 1998 Papa passed away very peacefully at the age of 84 at his beloved Fathima Villa. May the souls of Nat and Beryl rest in peace.
Photos: Copyright Sheila.Abraham. Click on them for enlarged view.