Terry Domico | Passages

Terry Domico, of Friday Harbor, Washington, left us unexpectedly at the end of April 2024. A private memorial was held with family and close friends.

Originally from Idaho, he also lived in Alaska, western Washington, and the east and west coasts of Australia. For many years, he spent time between San Juan Island and Australia.

Terry is survived by his wife Andrine; his sons, Randle, Spencer, and Robin Domico; daughters-in-law, Latzy and Rachel; step-daughter Kelly; his aunt, Iris Beresford Johnson; brothers, Dorian Oliver, Steve Stuart, and David Domico; sisters, Michele and Janelle Domico; nephews and nieces; and many long-time friends and colleagues all over the world.

He lived life to the fullest, accomplishing nearly all of the things he set out to do, with more projects still on his list. His commitment to the natural world entirely shaped his life from an early age, and he had the vision and determination to stay true to that course throughout his life.

He was intensely curious, learned, and insightful. He observed birds and wildlife at his home sanctuary, handling snakes, lizards, bugs, plants or whatever might pique his curiosity, often studying samples under his microscope. He loved to sit by the kitchen window to observe and record migrating birds, bake his own recipes for pizza and cookies, play piano (a practice he’d recently undertaken), take photos with his drone (to see the entire ecosystem), and to fish and camp. He took walks with his wife or friends, always on the lookout for interesting animals and plants. A favorite memory was the summer he spent with his two oldest boys hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. He was a long-time beekeeper, proud of his innovative practices in making the most delicious honey on both continents. A huge advocate for conservation in his personal life, Terry chose to live off the grid for many years.

He received a number of awards, including the Washington Governor’s Writers Award for “Bears of the World”, a Sigma Delta Chi award for “Excellence in Journalism”, and first place in the World Photography Contest 1983. His articles and photographs appeared in Smithsonian, Natural History, National Geographic, Pacific Fishing, Alaska Fest and several other magazines. He was past president of his chapter of the Washington Native Plant society, and recently coordinated a regional Garry Oak Symposium with WNPS.

His books include Wild Harvest: Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest; Bears of the World; The Nature of Borneo; Kangaroos: The Marvelous Mob; Natural Areas of the San Juan Islands, The Great Cactus War, a novel, The Last Thylacine, and a children’s book, Me and Miss Rufous (in production). Terry managed Earth Images, a photo agency, for many years prior to digital photography, and founded two publishing companies.

Terry also worked on wetland determination and delineation and ecological assessments of sensitive areas, and founded Puget Sound Biosurvey. He was a licensed captain and dive instructor specializing in training for underwater research and rescue diving. He was captain and naturalist with Maya’s Whale Watch Charters in Friday Harbor, and later for Imagine Cruises, in Nelson Bay, NSW, Australia.

He also had been senior scientist for the Australian Marine Parks Association, and coordinated a seagrass monitoring program in Port Stephens, and was continuing to work to establish a World Heritage Estuary site. He was a consultant to a USA Congressional Committee on Australia’s commercial kangaroo industry. After moving to Western Australia, he became an active volunteer with the Dongara Public Library, and the Marine Rescue and local Historical Society there.

He was appointed a director to the Western Australian Board of the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council and recently worked to secure the protection of the Kwongan region, a biological hotspot where nearly half of more than 7400 species of plants growing there are found nowhere else on Earth.

He freely shared his vast knowledge on all things related to natural history and biodiversity. A charismatic storyteller, and not afraid to speak his mind, he was a force of nature himself. If you spent five minutes with him, you’d soon understand more about the natural world than you’d ever known existed, and want to learn more.

Terry lives on through all the lives he has touched, and he will be deeply missed. Bon voyage, captain, husband, father, friend. The world was so much richer for your time here.