South Bend Tribune -- March 7, 1999


On the other side of the world

MHS grad's career post takes him to India

Tribune Staff Writer

Terry DeMaegd, a 1968 graduate of Mishawaka High School, has certainly made his way in the world -- and now, he's on the other side of it.

DeMaegd, whose son lives in the Homewood Avenue home he hopes to retire to in a few years, is working in New Delhi, India, where he is Officer-in-Charge for Citizenship and Immigration Services at the U.S. Embassy.

Through an e-mail interview, DeMaegd and his wife, Maggie, have described their lives since Terry took the embassy position in August.

"Hopefully, it'll give some sense of living day-to-day in India," Maggie wrote.

"And learning that the diplomatic life isn't all balls and cocktail parties, tuxes and ballgowns."

Maggie adds that "the stuff you see on the streets here is amazing, and not necessarily 'wonderful' amazing."

For example, there are two markets she mentioned as places she shops for fresh produce, Sarojini and Moti Bagh.

"Sarojini is one of the favorite markets among locals," explained Maggie. But it's also where one of two bombs was detonated in October, killing nearly 60 people.

"I skip Moti Bagh on the days when the cows outnumber the people in the market," Maggie says of the other site.

As for Terry, he wrote that he was "praying the electricity will stay on long enough to let me finish this message."

And it did.

In India, Terry pursues his career in government service, which began in the 1970s in Los Angeles when he took a job as a criminal investigator with what was then the INS, now part of the Department of Homeland Security.

"For several months in 1980, I was sent to Miami to help process Cubans during the Mariel Boatlife operation," he said, describing some of the problems that arose as Castro "forced many undesirables onto the boats at Mariel Bay."

After that, Terry took a position with the Department of Defense in Oregon, married Maggie and became a father.

His other assignments have taken him to San Diego and then Anaheim, Calif., where Terry worked as a political asylum officer.

"I was scheduled to travel to Islamabad, Pakistan, to interview refugees in the middle of September, 2001," he wrote. "However, 9/11 intervened, but I was finally able to travel there at the end of January 2002."

The stay was brief, however.

Two months later, a bomb blast near the U.S. Embassy killed two Americans, and DeMaegd was evacuated.

After short stints back in California and then Washington, D.C., they were on their way to New Delhi.

But that doesn't mean that Mishawaka is ever far from Terry and Maggie's thoughts.

Terry's family came to Mishawaka, he wrote, when his grandfather immigrated from Belgium in 1909.

"He worked at the Kamm Brewery and at Ball Band," Terry said, adding that his father, Leon, worked at Ball Band for 40 years, too -- except for when he was fighting in World War II.

"A few years back, I began to return periodically to Mishawaka after many years, for high school reunions and to see family," Terry wrote.

And he's always stayed a Notre Dame fan, even though he lived in Southern California for so many years.

What does he look forward to after his Indian odyssey?

They'll retire to Mishawaka.

"And fish on the banks of the St. Joe River," he wrote.

The Moti Bagh market in New Delhi, India, is where Maggie DeMaegd shops for fresh vegetables -- except, she said, when the cows outnumber the people in the market.

Terry DeMaegd

This page has been taken from the South Bend Tribune's March 7, 2006, online edition.

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