I have had a lot of loss in my life but very few things affected me like the loss of my brother Jim to AIDS. He was four years younger than I and I loved him dearly. Not only was he wonderfully sweet and handsome, he was extremely talented. When he started out in New York, with only a Yale degree and a partner named Ed Hambredcht, we all wished him luck. It was beyond all of our wildest dreams that he would or could achieve what he did. This is exemplified by his presence in the Hall of Fame for Interior Designers below. At the time of his death the two man company had expanded to 315 with locations in London, Los Angelos and Manhattan. As so many told me at his memorial service, "Nancy, Jim was brilliant and it was always a joy to work with him."
I nursed him through his AIDS illness and must admit that it was one of the most difficult times of my life. But it did teach me that life is short and that it is best if we make the most of the time that we have here. I wish so much that he was alive, to enjoy the Caribbean with me. We used to take wonderful trips together and I do so miss his company.
When he died he was living in the very famous Dakota on West 72 Street right underneath Yoko Ono. It was the one dwelling that he had always desired - see the picture below.
Above is our family in 1945. World War II had just ended and we were spending a memorable weekend at my grandparents home in Ashland, VA. I was five and Jim was one. He was such a cute toddler. I would dress him up and play house with him. He later told me I was way too bossy!
The picture on the left is the last one we ever had taken together. He had just returned from the hospital and his nurse Margaret took it. He was so tired and fought such a courageous battle with this terrible disease. His friend, Perry Ellis, had died the year before as did so many of New York's creative designers in the 1980s.
The portrait on the left is a conte pencil drawing done by the famed artist, Gyorgy Daskaloff. It is included in his book entitled, AMERICAN PORTRAITS. It is a huge work measuring some 10' wide by 5' high. It always hung on his living room wall at the Dakota.
Below you can read the host of stores and creative endeavors that he accomplished as an architect. His interior renovation of Marshall Field's in Chicago was the largest and most expensive ever done at the time - $30 million and no walls were moved. That's a lot even now.
Each Christmas Jim hosted a lovely Tree Trimming Party. And each year he outdid the year past. Admission was one ornament each. When he died I found boxes of exquisite and beautiful ornaments. I still use some of them on our small tree on Swan Song.
The picture to the left was his last party in 1987. I was his hostess and I must say that it was one of the best. How I miss this wonderful man. I shall always love him.
JAMES E. TERRELL, JR
1944 - 1989
The Dakota - One West 72nd Street at Central Park West - Jim's last home