With Jubilation for the Life of Terry O’Casey
On the morning of October 22nd, our dear professor Terry O’Casey passed away. Terry was a loved professor, pastor, father, husband, friend, and mentor. In his years here at NCU he touched the lives of many students and staff. He taught every class with passion and total investment in his students. Our community will forever be grateful for this incredible man who we know is rejoicing in the presence of God. He taught so fondly about the promised land and now he gets sit at the throne of God enthralled in every detail of where Christ walked.
Join us in remembering Terry with a few statements from our staff, alumni, and students:
“What do you say about a professor, preacher, empowerer and friend that can truly illustrate the impact he made on your passion for God, leadership development and capacity to teach?
He was lovingly referred to as Dr. Rabbi O’Crazy because how else do you describe someone who preaches sermons that grab people from the audience (literally) and refuses to let them sit and miss the power of God’s Story throughout the Bible? How do you define a professor who routinely quotes the Hebrew Scriptures and joyfully points out its implications for our modern life? How do you recount a lesson on the Temple built by Solomon where the entire class is assembled in the Quad as a “living temple” of furniture and objects of sacred worship? How do you refer to a mentor whose sense of humor borders hilarity and middle school potty humor? How do you not get captured at the childlike awe of a man who hikes remote lands to take a picture of a serene lake, a rare wildflower, a hidden lava tube or abandoned church? How do you share about the pastoral care he brought to colleagues, church elders, and those often overlooked in our communities?
Well, not only did Terry model a genuine vulnerability and honesty of emotion, but he consistently fought the tendency to allow a critical spirit and a hard heart to manifest in loss and disillusionment. He was stubborn in hope and committed to invest in lives regardless of the short-term results. He saw beyond labels and brokenness and believed the best and loved in spite of. He championed the Bride of Christ (the Church) despite the difficulty, hypocrisy and betrayal that can accompany a pastoral call to renew struggling churches. He passed away doing what he believed most and contributed best to the Kingdom of God…leading a turnaround Church, preaching the Word and challenging people to follow Jesus with their whole life.
Whom Eternity has now received, we, this side, will regale with story, burst with laughter, remember fondly, and be shaped in faith as long as we are granted the time to serve before we, too, are called home.
Thank you, God, for making and sharing with us, Terry O’Casey.”
-Rev. Troy Dean, Campus Pastor
“In the six years that I’d known him, Terry O’Casey had many names: The Bigfoot of NCU, Terrancosaurus Rex, the First Ancient Wonder of the World, and probably his most popular title: Rabbi O’Crazy. But he has always been so much more than that. He was a most cherished mentor and pastor, a teacher who constantly learned alongside his students with an open Bible in hand and an eye fixed on the beauty of creation. He was a father to the orphan and a pillar of love and compassion for the broken and the hurt. I know all of this first hand.
Terry had an uncanny knack for making me feel heard, loved, and believed in. He brought me joy every time he pulled on my hat as we passed each other on the sidewalk or started a sass-off with me in class or talked about Umpqua ice cream. He had laughed with me and cried with me on many occasions. He saw my hurts and my joys, my insecurities and my talents, and he never shied away from any of it. Terrance O’Casey will always hold a special place in my heart, and I can only pray that God will mold me into a fraction of the person he was. And that’s all I’ve got to say about Terry today—“in terms of, er, that.”
-Delia Shay, Graduate ‘17
“Terry O’Casey’s Old Testament class was my very first class on my very first day at NCU. From the moment that I sat in L203 on that first day, I knew there was something special about O’Casey…not just his love for ice cream and his crazy personality. I could tell from that first day that he had a heart to reach broken people and to share God’s love and word with them. Throughout that entire first semester studying the Old Testament, I began to develop a love for God’s word that I had never before experienced, even after growing up in the church. Terry taught me about the importance of God’s word and he made it come alive. Before Terry’s class I never really had spent much time actually reading God’s word, but through his gladness I wanted to spend time in the word and I wanted to learn more about God’s word. I was lucky enough to have him for New Testament that same year, and again through Terry bringing the word to life, I developed a love for scripture. Terry always had us take notes in our Bibles so that we could use them on our open book test… the book being, well, the Bible. Every once in a while, I still go back and read all of the notes that fill the study Bible that I bought for Terry’s class and I am reminded by how Terry continued to teach me the importance of God’s word throughout that first year. Had it not been for Terry and him making the word come to life through his crazy personality and side comments about ice cream, I don’t know if I would be able to say that I have grown in my faith as much as I have since being here at NCU.”
-Myranda Johnson, Senior
The Celebration of Life Service for Dr. Terry O’Casey will be held on Saturday, November 3 at 1 PM in the Tabernacle at the Oregon Christian Convention center in Turner, Oregon.