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Former Batavia resident Terry Anderson, journalist taken hostage by terrorists in 1985 dies at age 76

By Howard B. Owens
terry anderson and jim owen
Terry Anderson, right, autographs a book for the late James Owen at an event at Batavia Downs commemorating the opening of the International Peace Garden in Batavia in February 2011.
File photo by Howard Owens.

Terry Anderson, a journalist and a Batavia High School graduate who gained international attention after being taken hostage by an Iranian-backed terrorist group, has died in Greenwood Lake, in the Hudson Valley.

He was 76 years old.

Anderson was the Beirut bureau chief in 1985 for the Associated Press when he was kidnapped by armed men who dragged him from his car after he dropped off a tennis partner following a match. The pistol-wielding men yanked him from his car and pushed him into a Mercedes-Benz.

The terrorists were reportedly members of Hezbollah, an Islamic Jihad Organization in Lebanon. He was reportedly blindfolded and beaten and kept in chains and moved to 20 different hideaways in Beirut, South Lebanon, and the Bekaa Valley.

His release came 2,454 days later following intense lobbying by his sister, Peggy Say.

Anderson and Say were born in Lorain, Ohio, where their father, Glen, was a village police officer. While still children, their parents moved to Batavia, where their father worked as a truck driver and their mother, Lily, was a waitress.

After Anderson was kidnapped, Say didn't feel the case was getting enough attention from the U.S. government and the United States. She launched a national campaign to raise the awareness of people to the plight of her brother and other hostages held by Hezbollah.

Say, who had returned to Batavia after relocating for a time, enlisted fellow journalists, humanitarian groups, world figures, and U.S. citizens in the cause, which led to the nation being festooned with yellow ribbons. 

She also received assistance from many fellow Batavia residents, such as Anne Zickl, who died in 2014.

Say died in 2015 at age 74.

Terry Anderson's daughter Sulome told the New York Times that Anderson died following complications from a recent heart surgery.

Anderson's last public appearance in Batavia was in February 2011 to dedicate the International Peace Garden.

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