Many people around the West Milford area knew Sally Terhune Malatras because of the Harvest Moon health products store she and her husband, John Malatras, operated in the center of town for 21 years. Others knew her because of the historic background she shared with ancestors who were among those responsible for establishing the town. However, only a few people knew of her ability to heal others.
Sally Malatras passed away on Nov. 11 at age 71. She and her husband John were inseparable. Wherever one was the other was there too. A traveling salesman in 1990, John met Sally when he was visiting health food stores to promote herbal medicine. In his travels he happened upon the hamlet of West Milford in North Jersey. From the time he first saw the town he liked it better than anywhere he had been before. He was fascinated with a woman behind the counter at Jackie’s Energy Connection, in the Rockport shopping area. Sally was one of the first people he would meet. She was facing away but when she turned to him and he saw her eyes he was stunned into forgetting why he was there – but that suddenly did not matter anymore. He learned from the owner a month later that Sally felt the same way about him.
“I felt so good as I returned to my car,” John remembers. “I felt so good – so happy that Sally existed. The thought of being with her was in the realms of impossibilities. She was ‘Sunshine.’ A couple of months passed but things were not good at the store, and it closed. Jackie, the store owner, moved on and so did Sally. My heart sank.”
It wasn’t until two years later when John was giving a herbal seminar in a store in Ringwood that he saw a beautiful person step out of her car and enter the store. It was Sally!
“It must have been fate that we were both there that day,” John said. Sally never went to that store before and had decided to see what it was like.”
The couple married in June 1997 in Warwick N.Y., with the mayor officiating. They started the Harvest Moon business in West Milford – from scratch. The store became a way for them to be together all the time. They delighted in sharing their love and passion for natural healing with anyone who walked through the door.
Sally became one of the first Reiki therapists, but she would never advertise or mention that. John shared that just being near Sally made anyone in any condition feel good and safe. He said she was the truest, most honest empathetic person one could meet. He witnessed two miraculous healings that she performed by placing her gentle hands on persons in need to help when there was no one else present to help.
“Sally helped me when my injured foot and ankle did not heal and my condition worsened,” John said. “I must have nodded into the realm before sleep and perhaps sleep, for when I opened my eyes she was looking at me. I saw God in those eyes. My foot, that had been filling with blood, was no longer black. It looked normal and my pain and anxieties were gone. I was back at work the next morning.”
On their anniversary weekend the couple went to a Costa Rica farm in the Monteverde Forest where they were gifted with a trip after their Harvest Moon store became the number one store for New Chapter Supplements. There were 20 other folks there from many places to see how this unique monkey reserve operated. On the final day there 18 people were going to zip-line through the forest canopy. John and Sally had decided not to participate.
When the participants returned there was a woman frozen in panic. She became stranded up high in the forest and she was paralyzed by the experience. John recalled there were all types of professionals in the group but none of them could help the woman who sat at a table, unable to speak or eat.
“I encouraged Sally to do Reiki to help her,” John said. “I left them in an upstairs room and walked away. Sally did her magic. It was just 30 minutes later that I saw the lady walking towards me with a small smile on her face. She joined the others and had dinner.”
On Sally and John’s return flight from Costa Rica, a turbulent storm broke out and their plane was grounded in Baltimore. Since it was an international flight no one was allowed to get on or off the plane. Five long hours passed as they remained seated with the other passengers. Suddenly a woman seated in front of the couple started to lose control of herself.
“She was freaking out,” explained John. No one on the plane, including the woman’s husband could calm her down. Sally stood up behind her, whispered to her and put her hands on top of the woman’s head. The plane was humming as I watched. Insanity was all around Sally, breathing gently with her eyes closed, hands barely touching this stranger’s head, calmed her down. The lady became calm, smiled and thanked Sally profusely – and soon afterward our flight to Newark Airport resumed.”
Many ancient customs say that life energy flows through the body, deeply affecting the entire being. Some research suggests that energy travels throughout and beyond the physical body and that distribution or imbalance correlate with physical, mental and emotional illness. The healing art of Reiki addresses these imbalances to support good health and well being.
Sally established the Lotus Center above the Harvest Moon store to offer Reiki and other healing techniques. Her husband said she was as the ancient Greeks would say, “Philotimo” beautiful inside and outside, one who lives with kindness and a compassionate heart. She was involved with the Metaphysical Center at William Paterson University and met the Dali Lama and Deypak Chopra and others.
Sally’s paternal side of the family history in the West Milford area dates to Albert S. Terhune (1826-1910) who had a farm on Union Valley Road. Her father Gilbert V.P. Terhune was mayor of West Milford a few years ago. The family has participated in various volunteerism efforts throughout the years.
Sally’s husband John Malatras and her sisters Joyce Kiel and Anne Thornton survive her; also her children Brian Cavalieri, Gregory Cavalieri, Amanda Jacoby and husband Joe and James Malatras and wife Jennifer, and her grandchildren.