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Obituary: Terrance H. Tennant

Aerospace engineer, Cal Poly Pomona professor emeritus

Former Cal Poly Pomona professor Terrance H. Tennant completed what he called his “voyage of discovery” in March 2018, when he died in Morro Bay.

Mr. Tennant was born in Syracuse, New York to loving parents Herman and Mary Tennant. He was raised most of his early life on Long Island.

He attended Mepham High School in in North Bellmore, New York, where his father was the principal. He got good grades, played football and baseball, was on the wrestling team, and acted in the theater. He went on to attend Yale University in New Haven, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. 

After Yale, Mr. Tennant moved west to attend Pasadena’s California Institute of Technology, where he earned his first master’s degree. He then accepted his first job as a mechanical and aerospace engineer at General Dynamics in Pomona. He remained there for 37 years, working on numerous programs that helped to keep our country and our troops safe, his family shared. While at General Dynamics, Mr. Tennant went back to school and earned a second master’s degree. He retired as vice president of engineering.

Next he took a job at Cal Poly, Pomona where he taught engineering. During his career, the university asked him to become program manager for its new engineering building. With that task completed, he retired after 10 fulfilling years at Cal Poly with the title of professor emeritus.

Mr. Tennant and his wife enjoyed their retirement. They spent a year in Boston to be near his east coast boyhood home, and to join their son who was in his last year at Boston University.

Soon after, they built a home in Morro Bay on a piece of property with a whitewater view of the Pacific Ocean and a great vista of Morro Rock. He always enjoyed Morro Bay and California’s spectacular central coast. 

Mr. Tennant loved traveling and had a wide variety of interests. He was always most happy backpacking and hiking with his children. The sights of the High Sierras were among his favorite spots.

Looking back, he always said his life was full and happy, his family shared. He was celebrated by his friends and family on Morro Bay harbor at the end of June.

Mr. Tennant was predeceased by his brother, Michael Joseph. 

He is survived by his wife, Sherie; children Alex, Patrick, Tracy and Katy; three granddaughters; three nieces; and sister-in-law Nancy Tennant. 

“He will be remembered as a husband, father, friend, and gentleman and missed by all who knew him,” his family said.

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