Close call for city councilmember Terry Seamens

Joyce and Terry Seamens in the 2014 Takoma Park 4th of July Parade.. Photo by Eric Bond.

BY BRANDIE PETERSON

It was nothing short of a miracle when Terry Seamens left the hospital just three days after open-heart surgery.

May 15 the Takoma Park, MD city councilmember had bypass surgery at the city’s Washington Adventist Hospital.

In the days leading up to his surgery Seamens knew something was wrong. “I was half-way up the hill when my shoulders started hurting,” said Seamens, describing the pain he felt several days before his surgery.

He ignored his suspicion it might be heart related. But when the shoulder pain persisted several days, Seamens called his doctor.

The earliest possible appointment was in June. Well before his appointment, pain and discomfort prompted Seamens to go to the emergency room on May 11.

Life threatening

Throughout the night and the next day doctors ordered tests that revealed a life-threatening condition. Doctors initially attempted to perform a cardiac catheterization but the heart artery blockage was too severe.

Several days later doctors performed open-heart surgery to repair the artery blockage. The pain Seamens had been experiencing was not a heart attack, but was a precursor to one.

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Takoma Park’s Ward 4 city councilmember Terry Seamens following his surgery. Photo by Brandie Peterson.

Three days later Seamens was well enough for him to leave the intensive care unit. He wanted to go home and his doctor approved his release from the hospital.

Seamens credits God’s grace for his speedy recovery.

Following the surgery doctors instructed him to walk and exercise 15 minutes a day. Two weeks after his surgery Seamens was walking 45 minutes a day. He now walks for an hour, going three miles around his neighborhood everyday.

Seamens was able to participate by phone in the council meeting on May 26. He was present for the June 2 meeting.

The road to Takoma Park

Originally from Buffalo, New Your, Seamens lived in Wilmington, Delaware and Laurel, Maryland before he moved to Takoma Park.

Seamens met his wife, Joyce Seamens, while he was living in Laurel. Mutual friends introduced them to one another.

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Joyce and Terry Seamens walking in the 2014 Takoma Park Independence Day Parade a month and a half after his surgery. Photo by Bill Brown

They later married and he moved to Takoma Park in 1983. They’ve been married for 30 years. His wife’s family has occupied the home they currently live in since 1931.

His wife has three children from a previous marriage. He has one child from a previous marriage. They blended into one happy family.

Computing a career path

While taking physics in high school Seamens was motivated to change his coarse of study. He discovered his love of computer programming and technology.

Seamens enrolled in a junior college to study computer programming. However, the school lacked the in-depth classes he was expecting.

He landed a summer internship in computer programming at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York (formerly Roswell Park Research Hospital). When Seamens returned to college his knowledge was so advanced that he tutored many of his classmates.

While visiting his parents in Wilmington, Delaware, for Thanksgiving, Seamens landed a job. He never returned to college.

During his career Seamens has worked as a computer programmer and systems analyst for Science Applications International Corporation. He also worked for Intel Corporation, first as manager of a software consultant group, then later transferring to technical support for sales.

The dais beckons

A number of events led to Seamens becoming the Ward 4 city councilmember.

While still working at SAIC, Seamens began helping his wife care for his mother-in-law in their home. During this time he began devoting more attention to community matters.

Seamens

At the encouragement of his father-in-law Seamens attended a neighborhood association meeting. He was elected president of the Ritchie Citizen Association at the first meeting he attended.

He began looking for opportunities to raise publicity and awareness for the association. An article about the county council cutting funding for the Takoma Park Maryland Library prompted Seamens to organize a rally. It was a total success.

Out of that came an opportunity for Seamens to advocate and raise publicity for the Takoma Park Police Department. Again he was successful.

In 1999 Terry Seamens was chosen Activist of Year by the Takoma Voice.

More city issues were brought to Seamens attention. A city employee suggested that he join the city council. Seamens decided he would make a good councilmember.

He ran unopposed and won the election in 1999. Seamens is currently serving in his seventh term as Ward 4 councilmember.

He is beloved and esteemed by his constituents for his dedication and commitment to the people.

Both Seamens and his wife are active in the SHARE Food Network, the Manna Food Center and Adventist Community Services.