Quitting Is Not An Option!!!

Clark’s doctors are pleased that the amputation site on his right leg is healing very well. We wish that the news about his left leg was as positive. We were all hoping that various therapies would have solved the diabetes-related circulatory deficiencies in his left leg. No one wanted Clark to suffer another amputation, but this condition has become critical and his need for pain medication has escalated.

After we prayed about it, Clark said that he wanted to talk with his doctors one more time. Dr. Simmie Armstrong and Dr. Heather LeBlanc explained the pros and cons, and that waiting any longer would be life-threatening. Later, when we discussed their recommendations, Clark said, “Well, let’s do what we’ve got to do and get it done!”

His high spirits were amazing when he was admitted into the hospital on Wednesday, February 15th, with surgery planned for next week. Honestly, it is phenomenal to witness his awesome passion for overcoming health challenges. He said, “It’s not easy. Believe me! But quitting is not an option. Never has been and never will be. I know that Big Prez (his nickname for God) is with me. Been with me all of my life.”

One of his students, Quincy Cavers, said, “Whenever I get bogged down, I think about Cee Tee and how he handles things, then I feel like I can make it. He’s such an inspiration.”

While I was with him last night in his room, one of his nurses told him that she had seen his “Mumbles” video on his website. When she asked him if he still sings “Mumbles,” he said, “Once a mumbler, always a mumbler.”

Last week, Kevin Padian and John “Faithful” Simon came to visit Clark at home. They were both raving about Clark’s book. Kevin is a curator and a paleontology professor at the University of California. He is also one of their editorial board members who voted for the publication of Clark’s book. He said, “Clark has always been my favorite jazz trumpeter of all time.”

John (pictured on the left above) is mentioned several times in Clark’s book for standing beside him through many health challenges. “I had to come and spend some time with him. He means a lot to me.” John and Quincy moved the keyboard from the living room so that they could play some music for Clark in our bedroom. He was smiling a lot, and singing along with the tunes they played – John on flute and keyboard, and Quincy on sax. John’s website can be viewed at They had a great time for hours!

When we learned that Terri Lyne Carrington had won a Grammy in the “Best Jazz Vocal Album” category for her latest CD – “The Mosaic Project,” Clark called her and said, “I’m so proud of you! I love you and God bless you!” She’s mentioned in his book as a “power hitter.” Their relationship goes back to when she was a little girl, and it’s always a joy to see the big smiles on his face when he talks with her. For information about her award-winning recording, please visit

We hope that you all had a great Valentine’s Day. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at home on the 14th, and it was filled with love, complete with gorgeous flowers, loving phone calls and thoughtful gifts from friends and family. I bought us a four-foot teddy bear, and he got a b-i-g kick out of it. He was sooooo happy as I read him your wonderful cards and website posts. When I finished, he said, “I’m very thankful to Big Prez for sending me so much love!”

We plan to have our anniversary photo done at a later time when he’s feeling better. In the meantime, please join me in staying positive as we continue our prayers for his healing.

Blessings and love,

| general | 38 Comments

38 Responses to Quitting Is Not An Option!!!

  1. Jessica Kahn says:


    Wishing you back on your feet in no time! My cousin Josh thinks the world of you and by association, our whole family does, as well.

    All the best,


  2. We have always loved you and your music. Josh Shpak is one of my young piano students and we are friend of Michael Miller.
    Our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery to you, Dear Gentleman.
    ~Frank and Donna Lee

  3. Brandon James says:


    I am a family friend of your mentee and friend Josh Shpak. He speaks so highly of you and is so fond of you and all the time you have devoted to helping him become a better person. This level of care and attention you give him is so inspiring and it delights me to see how much joy you bring him. As a musician I’d be grateful to have even 1% of the skill and talent you do and as a person I hope I can at some point in my life look back and see that Ive dedicated myself to something even half as much as you dedicated yourself to your music.

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    Brandon James

  4. Jeff says:

    Sending you the very best and keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  5. Josh Shpak says:

    Dear Clark,

    You are the strongest, inspiring person I have ever known. My heart fills with awe and joy every time I remember that I know you. Thank you for being such an incredible teacher, mentor and friend in my life.

    I wish you the quickest recovery possible with the surgery, but knowing you, you’ll be back in high spirits in no time!!

    Love always,


  6. Sheila "Voot" Bates says:

    Dear Uncle CT and Gwen,
    Once again I’m awestruck by Uncle CT and his tenacity. I’m surely encouraged by is positive energy. I’m warmed by his love for life. This is a true blessing from GOD. I really need to visit with him. As GOD continue to prepare me to transition back into my home from the Good Friday Tornado here in St. Louis. I will transition my way to spend time with you Uncle CT and Gwen.

    May God continue to keep his arms around you, open up the windows of heaven and continue to pour abundance of blessings. I LOVE YOU WITH MY SOUL! And I will see you all soon.


  7. Justin Vargo says:

    Mr. Terry,

    Here’s wishing you luck with your upcoming surgery. Thank you for continuing to inspire so many people, including myself. I’ll be listening to your music and sending positive thoughts your way.


  8. Michael ("Migueligans") Miller says:

    Dear Clark,

    Neither the Energizer Bunny or a Timex Watch could hold a candle to you! Your ability to take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’ is so incredibly inspirational to us all.

    Please know that a world-full of friends, family, fans and students are cheering you on…LOUDLY!

    Quite simply, it is a huge honor and a blessing to be on this earth at the same time as you are, Clark…

    Sending much love your way…


  9. Kirk Sellman says:

    Get well, Clark.


  10. Céline Peterson says:

    As always Uncle Clark, you have everyone’s undying love and support! You are the strongest person that I have ever known, and that I am sure I will ever know. You continue to amaze and inspire thousands of people all around the world. Your positivity and strength is what gets you through every road bump along the path of life. I am so thankful that you have these qualities because that is what makes you, YOU! I love you, and I never stop thinking about you!

    Here are just a few notes from some fans on “Oscar Peterson Music” on Facebook, who wanted us to pass along their support and love:

    Carol Levin from Chicago: Hang in there, Clark Terry! We love you.
    (Mumbles is playing on KPLU here in Seattle as I type)

    Duke Mathebula from Potchefstroom, South Africa: Wishing you a speedy recovery “mumbles”

    Rex Burchett from Colorado: Get well soon, Terry!

    Audrey Pink: Wishing you a speedy recovery — you are loved by so many!

    Eric Sierra-Franco: Get well!!!!!!

    We all love you!!!! xoxoxo

  11. Valerie Takacs says:

    Please know that my prayers are with you for your continued recovery. You are an inspiration to my Dad who has been in the ICU for two weeks on a ventilator. He is following your example to keep on keepin’ on and the tube came out today! God is good!! Continued blessings on you and Gwen!!

  12. Michael says:

    Best wishes to the the owner of the happiest trumpet sound ever!!!
    (just practising your solo on “Straight no Chaser” with Wes Montgomery ;)…)

  13. Charles Funn says:

    All my best to my first mentor and always my favorite musician. I have dreams of me doing Mumbles, opening my eyes and seeing Clark in the audience shaking his head and Mumbling under his breath. Stay Well Mr. Terry, all my best to you Gwen….

  14. Anthony Oland says:

    You are an inspiration to us all Clark, thank you for bringing us all so much joy!

    Toronto Ontario

  15. MC from Paris says:

    your strength is amazing and is an inspiration.
    We are sending you two much love and all the good vibes we can produce!


  16. Dear Clark,
    Sending you prayers and positive thoughts. You are such an inspiration-our admiration is beyond words.
    Alan and Riina

  17. Pete Berg says:

    CeeTee, THANK YOU for being such an inspiration to me on so many levels: musically, spiritually, mentally, physically…the list goes on!!!

    I will be praying for you as you go through your latest surgery. I had the honor of shaking your hand several years ago in North Dakota of all places..and I shall never forget it for as long as I live. Our college jazz ensemble opened for your combo; the music that poured forth from your horns was pure joy. Ever since that day, I’ve wanted my own flugelhorn playing to sound just like yours.

    God Bless You Clark!! Thank you so much for being the man who you are. You have made a huge difference in my life via your music, and to see how you are facing today’s challenges head on is an inspiration beyond words.

    I sincerely hope to see you again on this earth, but if not…when we all get to heaven, I’m gonna give you the biggest hug!!

    Much love,

    Pete Berg

    PS Gwen, God Bless You as well…and thank you so much for sharing Clark’s updates with all of us. Thank you for loving Clark so much and walking with him for so many years. You are a gem!!

  18. What an inspirational man and musician. We love you, CT.

  19. Valerie Bishop says:

    the two of you should be bent forward from the weight of all the medals i’ve pinned on you (from afar)!! you are the most inspiring folks i know of! of course, i will continue sending healing thoughts and prayers your way. the only change is that they’ll be increased!!! love and blessings, always. xoxo

    valerie bishop

  20. Austn Casey says:

    Mr. Terry is just amazing! Such a killin musician and a great guy. He’s got what Louis Armstrong had. An all around inspiration and the ideal role model.
    I’m so glad to hear he’s still mumbling too!
    “Big Prez” bless you Mr. Terry!
    From the heart