Terri Cohilas, 57: Loved to taste, feel, explore life

With an estimated two years to live, Terri Cohilas wanted to see the world, so she and her husband got on a plane.

“For Terri life was an adventure,” said husband, former Clayton County fire chief Alex Cohilas. “She couldn’t wait to taste it, feel it, explore it.”

The couple married in Jamaica, watched cherry blossoms bloom in Washington D.C., kissed on the Golden Gate bridge and went whale watching in Maine.

Together they devoured lobster rolls at Cape Cod, drove the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to Monterey, Calif., shopped on Rodeo Drive and ate lunch at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Hollywood, and ate French food in the French quarter of New Orleans.

They flew to Paris, drank champagne and ate caviar at Buckingham Palace and drove on the French Riviera.

They danced all night at Atlanta jazz clubs and gambled all night in Las Vegas and Monte Carlo.

Married for ten years, “we had a rich full life,” said husband Cohilas. “We didn’t waste a moment of it.”

His wife was expected to live two more years after a diagnosis of cancer, but two turned into almost four. He credited the support and professionalism of caregivers at Emory hospital. “They gave us time,” he said.

Terri Brown McCullough Cohilas died Aug. 25. of cancer. She was 57. A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at Tara Baptist Church, 10461 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro.

The College Park native was classy and trusted. Cohilas wrote for the Clayton News Daily before joining Georgia Power as a communications specialist in 1999. She worked in media relations and as an executive speechwriter. At the time of her death she was the assistant to the vice president of corporate communication and to the president of external affairs.

She seamlessly balanced being a mother and advancing in her career. She earned a reputation for integrity, and she loved nothing more than being “nana” to her eight grandchildren, her husband said.

“She would always say, ‘time is not measured by the breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away,’ ” said her husband.

In addition to her husband, Cohilas is survived by her father, Joe L. Brown of Brooks, Ga.; daughter Ryan Kunz of Brooks, Ga.; son Joshua McCullough of Jackson, Ga.; stepsons Christopher Cohilas of Albany, Ga., and Andrew Cohilas of Sneads Ferry, N.C.; brothers Mike Brown of Cochran, Ga. and Ted (Penny) Brown of Sharpsburg, Ga.; sister Cheryl Burchfield of Brooks, Ga., and eight grandchildren.

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