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. Ken Pollitt says:


    No one except “Big Prez” knows my admiration for you. You helped me and encouraged me as a young player and I am forever in your debt. Would love to hear from you or Gwen, but I realize that you have so many who love you, you can not respond to each one! Please know you have been, and continue to be in my prayers. Thanks for being in my life. You are my hero!

    Ken Pollitt
    Jericho (Long Island)

  2. Mark says:

    Hello Mr. Clark,

    I remember when you would adjudicate our Jazz Festivals at Edgewood Senior High in the 1970’s. We later performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Then, I had no idea you had performed with Wes Montgomery. I wish you the best!

  3. Hi Clark,
    This is Andrea Dupree. I was the chick singer who opened the first Spoleto Festival in Charleston, SC. I am so happy that you are in good spirits and being ‘who you are’….Clark. It is so weird, I was thinking about you last week…how wonderful you were to me, the conversations we had…it was so powerful, the letters you wrote to me from France. You have always had a special place in my heart and I have thought of you often…You were always a gentle, kind man and you were like a big kid…and even though I stopped playing trumpet and started singing jazz, I owe so much to you. Kindness is what I think, when I think of you.
    Love to you and your family,
    Andrea Dupree
    What I would give to see you again…

  4. DeWayne says:

    Dear Clark,

    I met you in 1978 at Blues Alley. It was the first time I had ever been to see live Jazz and I was immediately hooked. The thing I always liked about you was you seemed to remember me no matter where I saw you over the years. I am thankful that I met you and I still have your autograph from that night. God Bless You always.

  5. Ralph Gabriel says:

    CT: Who said you can’t be a ‘living Saint’! You’ve done the unbelievable again! The most LOVE from Gabe (Fish) and Lib (12/11/21) to (6/23/11).

  6. Joan Humphrey says:

    I remember when the University of New Hampshire had a fabulous celebration for one of your milestone birthdays. We had a lovely dinner with you and Gwen. Everyone at Newicks was staring over at our table at the two of you. You were such a striking pair. The concert with guests who had come from all over was wonderful. Blessings to you both. Joan Humphrey

  7. Mike Vax says:

    Well, I am here in Pine Bluff and Gwen and I spent about five hours at the hospital with Clark last night. Much more today! He is SO remarkable!! Still up beat and joking, taking visitors, and speaking to friends on the phone, even while in pain. As Gwen and I talked about, Clark is a fighter! Always has been! Most people would have given up way before this, but he just Keeps on, Keepin’ ON! And Gwen – you are a rock for him and it is SO obvious how much you two love each other. What a joy to be here with the two of you, even though it is also a bit of a sad time for Clark’s medical problems.

  8. Big Jim Henry says:

    Hang in there man.
    I will never forget all the encouragement you gave me back when I was a young cat playing in Grant Wolf’s Jazz Band at Mesa Community College.
    I hope you are feeling better soon.
    Godspeed and God Bless You Man.


  9. Nick Frenay says:


    You’re a giant inspiration to me and all of my peers. Josh Shpak is a very good friend of mine and he’s told me about how amazing Clark Terry the man is, as I previously had only known about Clark Terry the musician. The world doesn’t let people as beloved as you slip away before they are ready to go. Keep on fighting, and best of luck in what I’m sure will be a speedy recovery. You can do this, man! You’ve got the music in you!

    With love and sincere respect and admiration,

  10. Patricia Myers, jazz journalist says:

    Dear Clark,
    I shall always remember the wonderful music you created at so many Paradise Valley Jazz Party years in AZ. We chatted often at the Millers’ house party the night before the weekend party and, in the early years, when it was at Camelback Inn, I often drove you to your casita after the final set. You were always a very special element of those parties, and those times remain vivid in my aural and visual memory.
    Patricia Myers/jazz journalist

  11. Vlad West says:

    Dear Mr.Terry,
    I didn’t know you so well, I sit in with you once in a club in West Village in New York. You were so gracious to me, to the musician who came from other country to America. I always remember that. Just want to tell you: music keeps us alive! You are always in my prayers and I am honored to have met you. Be well!

  12. Dean Snavely says:

    Gwen and Clark, we were all sending you our thoughts and prayers today. The kindness and courage that has been shared through this is inspirational! I thank you Gwen for your recent emails and communication and Clark for your wonderful phone call. There is a whole slew of young jazz musicians in WA state who are sending you all their good wishes as you have had this new surgery. God Speed for a quick recovery!

  13. Mike Vax says:

    It was good to talk with Gwen tonight and know that your wonderful positive spirit never wains. You have been through so much and yet you remain positive and a rock and keep thinking of Gwen and letting her know that you are fine and not to worry. If there were more Clark Terry’s in this world, it would certainly be a better place! I CAN’T WAIT to visit with the two of you this weekend. As usual, in all my clinics – when I mention you, which I always do, everyone wishes you well and loves you!

  14. Mic Gillette says:

    I wonder, can you ever know the reach of your influence, not only as a musician, but as a teacher and friend to all who might be lucky enough to share a moment of your life. Thank you for simply being you, for being so giving and caring, and for taking my favorite student (Josh Shpak)of all time along his path to greatness. Thank the good Lord for sending you Gwen, and for sending you the strength that reaches us all. Hang in there, Big Guy. – Your fan and admirer, Mic Gillette

  15. Matthew Nunn says:

    Dear Clark,

    I am so sorry to hear you have not been well. Hope you soon feel better, and you make a speedy recovery.
    Very best wishes from London,

  16. Craig Vinyard says:

    Dear Clark,
    I am sorry to hear about your reoccurring health issues and wish you the best of luck and strength as you move on. I would like to say I was awe struck and inspired when you made your on-stage appearance at the St.Louis Jazz Festival’s Concert with the Vanguard Orchestra last April. Observing you doing what you love at such a fragile time in your life gave me hope that maybe some day I’ll have just as strong of a spirit. Again, the best of wishes to you.

    Craig Vinyard

  17. Caleb Hensinger says:

    Dear Clark Terry,

    I recently listened to your masterclass at Artisthouse music and it has opened my mind as to how I can play with more feeling and be more connected to my inner thoughts. Your ideas on doodle tonging and connecting musical lines to syllables to get the desired effect is such a powerful tool and it well help me in my quest to become the best musician I can.

    I can’t thank you enough!

    God bless

    Caleb Hensinger

  18. Wely says:

    Dear Mr. Clark Terry
    We sincerely hope you come back soon, our prayers are with you. Many regards and best wishes from Taiwan.