The author standing on the seat of his grandfather's tractor (it was really a stripped down car) near Lake Vermilian in the heart of Minnesota's north woods.

A Review

"Growing up I heard my dad's stories often, he has always been open about sharing his life experiences. I received the manuscript from him over Christmas to read. I began right away. As I journeyed through the chapters with streams of tears rolling down my eyes, I realized reading my dad's story was much more difficult then hearing it. It is still hard for me to comprehend his younger years, because it is difficult to fathom that type of life. Thankfully I know the outcome, he is the best dad a girl could ask for and the best grandpa a grandchild could have. My life has been boring comparatively and for that I am extremely grateful. He took a life that started with tragedy and didn't allow that to be his heritage."

--Nicole Hoel; Author's Daughter


The author

Terry A. Degner of Eden Prairie, Minnesota credits his life experience for turning him into the man he is today. Abandoned by his birth mother when he was just 4-years-old, Degner grew up far faster than any child should, yet he persevered. Degner and his two younger siblings, Jean and Larry, spent over three years in The Children’s Home, an orphanage in Duluth, Minnesota before their adoption. On July 6, 1953, Larry went to live in St. Paul with his new family and eight days later, Terry and Jean left to live with a farm couple near Wendell, Minnesota.

Degner credits his adoptive parents, the church he grew up in, and sports with helping him gain some of the self-esteem he had lost as a young child. He credits his father for letting him do things around the farm before the other boys in his age group and his mother for being so patient and caring.

The church community lifted his spirit in an unusual way. When he was 9-years-old, the elders tapped him to play the lead role in the opera, “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” which is about a young disabled boy who meets the Three Wise Men. “I recently learned from my ninety-five year old adopted mother,” said Degner, “that the Pastor and his wife chose the play specifically for my benefit.”

As for sports, he participated in football, wrestling, baseball, and track, but wrestling was the sport that really gave his self-esteem a big boost. “When I was in the 8th grade, there was a senior on the school bus who was a bully. He’d come on the bus and push or shove us. It wasn't unusual for me to go home with buttons ripped off my shirt because I refused to let him bully me. One day it had rained and the ditches were filled with water. Without intending to, the bus driver overran the bully's driveway and when the bus came to a stop, I ran up and pushed him with my feet into the water. The driver quickly closed the door and grabbing me by the shirt said, ‘Terry, you either go out for wrestling or find another way to school.’ Best thing that ever happened to me.”

Degner went on to become one of the top wrestlers in the state of Minnesota. After high school he joined the military and served in Vietnam, then returned home and pursued a career in film and video production. For over 23 years, he designed, wrote, directed, and edited hundreds of video, sound, and multimedia productions; including children’s shows, documentaries, dramas, and training and promotional programs. For 12 of those years, he owned and managed his own production company. In the early years, he worked in theater and he studied and taught television drama, with an emphasis on script development. One of his students was a young man by the name of John Ritter of Three's Company fame. In addition to his media career, the author spent 12 years in sales and marketing, climbing the corporate ladder and winning many awards. He has an education in electronics from the U.S. Navy, a degree from the University of Minnesota in Speech (Broadcast) Journalism, and he is a certified Webmaster. Degner is now semi-retired and enjoys spending time with his wife and extended family. He has 15 grandchildren.

To arrange a speaking engagement or an interview with Terry Degner, and/or request a review copy of his book, contact Rachel M. Anderson, Publicist at 952-240-2513 or via e-mail: rachel@rmapublicity.com. For more information or to purchase copies of My Brave Little Man, go to the author's contact page.