Terrance Stanley Fox was born on July 28, 1958 to parents Betty and Rolly Fox. He was named after uncles from both sides of his family. Before Terry, there was only one child in the family, a boy named Fred. Terry also had a younger brother named Darrell, and a younger sister, Judith. Terry was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and lived there until 1966, when the family moved to Surrey and then to Port Coquitlam in 1968. .
Terry's mother said that even as a young child, Terry's most prominent characteristics were tenacity and patience. As a child, Terry's favorite games were a portable hockey game, and playing soldiers. Terry and his brothers loved roughhousing together, and the younger two of the boys would always come back to try and get the last shot in, even if they were bawling. Terry grew up in a family of sport lovers. He and his brothers all played several sports, including hockey, baseball and soccer. Through high school, Terry also participated in cross country running and basketball. .
Terry and his siblings were always taught to work hard and earn the things that were important to them. Around the age of 9 or 10, they began picking berries, then gradually worked up to other jobs, which allowed them to buy the golf clubs, bike or other things they wanted. .
Terry graduated from Port Coquitlam High School with straight A's, except for a B in English. He took kinesiology at the Simon Fraser University, where he also played on the basketball team.
On November 12, 1976, Terry ran into the back of a half-ton truck while watching the construction of a bridge near his neighborhood. The car he was driving was wrecked, but the only injury Terry had was a little soreness in his right knee. The pain persisted, but Terry dismissed it as a basketball injury. Finally at the end of February 1977, he went to the University Medical Services where he was given a handful of painkillers for a chemical reaction in his knee.