Terry McCracken, 1943-2021

James Terence (Terry) McCracken Jr., a 36-year veteran of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office and resident of Round Hill, died Wednesday, Nov. 10, at Inova Loudoun Hospital, Lansdowne.  He was 78.

Born June 9, 1943, in Washington, D.C., Terry was the son of the late James Terence Sr. and Anne Walker McCracken.  He moved at age three with his family to Waterford, where he spent his youth.  He attended Loudoun County High School before serving four years in the U.S. Navy, stationed at Pearl Harbor with assignments in Vietnam and the South Pacific.  Terry loved and spoke frequently of his naval service and the lifelong friends he made there.

After leaving the Navy, Terry lived and worked a short time in New York City before returning to Loudoun and joining the Sheriff’s Office, from which he retired in 1996 as a lieutenant.  He began his career as a field deputy and later worked in the department records room, performing background checks and as a liaison with various court systems and as a media spokesman.  At his retirement party, Terry expressed his love of the job: “It has been a joy to work with the Sheriff’s Department.  Every day I’ve gone to work and had a ball.  I wish everyone could say that.”  While working and after retirement, one of his greatest satisfactions was mentoring younger deputies. 

Terry also worked briefly at the Town of Purcellville and City of Herndon police departments.

It was in his early years as a deputy that he met and later married the former Sarah Bailey of Leesburg on June 8,1968.  They celebrated their 53rd wedding anniversary last summer.

An avid hunter, storyteller, and jokester, Terry was also a lover of all things Irish.  He spent much of his retirement researching his ancestors, their lives in Ireland and the United States, and their service in the American Civil War.  He and Sarah often traveled to Ireland where they enjoyed driving the countryside and discovering relatives and locations associated with the McCracken family.    

Terry was the ultimate host, extending his hospitality at yearly St. Patrick’s Day parties and relishing in annual Groundhog’s Day observances.  According to one family member, Groundhog’s Day was a national holiday in the McCracken household.  Much of this enthusiasm centered around “Larry Loudoun,” a groundhog who lived in the family’s Round Hill backyard. Larry became a Loudoun phenomenon when local radio station WAGE checked in with Terry and Sarah each Groundhog’s Day for a live report on whether Larry had seen his shadow that morning.

Always quick to share an opinion, Terry loved discussing local and national politics, especially after retirement, while having his daily breakfast with friends and neighbors at the Round Hill Diner.  He was also a well-read student of history and loved sharing his findings with friends.

He was a member of St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church, the Izaak Walton League of America, and the Hamilton-Thompson Masonic Lodge #37.

Survivors include his wife, Sarah; two sons, Michael of Purcellville and Nicholas (and wife Kristy) of Round Hill; five grandchildren, Mackenzie, John, Charlie, Mary Kate, and Mason; two nieces, Anne Margaret Felton of Denver, Co. and Catherine Moye of Olney, Md.  He was predeceased by his parents and a sister, Nancy Felton of Waterford.

The family will receive visitors at Hall Funeral Home, Purcellville, from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17.  A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church, Purcellville, at 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18.  The family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Jefferson County, WV, Izaak Walton League, P. O. Box 934, 10435 Leetown Road, Kearneysville, WV 25430, or to the Round Hill Volunteer Fire Department, 4 Main Street, Round Hill, VA 20141.

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