Late Thanksgiving night, our beloved dad, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, brother in law, father in law, and friend left this world to go to a place he believed was better. He told the emergency room doctor he needed to go because he had people waiting for him. He was completely lucid during this time saying his private good byes to at least forty people the first night and upwards of thirty people the second night prior to his passing.
Ted was born July 6, 1929 to his mother Ella and father Ted Sr. in Cicero, Illinois. He was the youngest and last surviving sibling of four brothers and two sisters. Young Ted was a terror and only sports and his older sister Shirley could turn him around. He was a good athlete and was drafted by the Pittsburg Pirates major league team as a catcher. Ted was a family man and did not want to leave home. He turned down the offer. He continued to play baseball in junior college and church leagues. The church leagues also had basketball. Ted, his brothers, and cousins made up one team. Many other teams were made up of family members only. Stories told over the years suggested that it was more basket “brawl” than basketball. The league members became lifelong friends despite a few black eyes, bruises, and scraped knuckles.
Ted married his high school sweetheart, Arlene Wilson, and they had three children. Chicago had always been home to Ted and Arlene. Their roots were in the suburbs of Berwyn and Cicero. In 1965, Ted, Arlene, the kids, and Arlene’s mom, “Diamond Lil” Wilson headed to Phoenix. Arlene’s health was deteriorating fast. Arlene was scheduled for experimental surgery to help extend her life. The surgeries, and there were many, worked. However, this kept Ted behind the financial eight ball. He worked as many as three jobs at a time to take care of his family. Somehow he still had time for his kids, work, took care of a sick wife, and coached his boys in baseball. The boys were average ball players, but above average brawlers when needed.
Ted taught work ethic and philanthropy from a poor man’s point of view. He taught his family to help others in need no matter what. His home was always open to whoever needed a place to stay. This included countless individuals and whole families with their pets. He was happiest when doing for others. Many times he gave away his last dollar because someone else needed it more.
Ted was always a very social individual. He liked people and they liked him. He enjoyed being anywhere he could talk to someone and make a new friend. In a short time he would learn a person’s history. He always remembered their story, birth and anniversary dates. A card was always mailed with a personal note. He had the ability to engage a statue in conversation.
Ted had a tough life and never seemed to catch a break. You couldn’t tell by his disposition. As long as he had his family and friends around, that was all he needed. Even as his own health started to fail him, he was always polite to the doctors, nurses, and care givers. Please and thank you never left his vocabulary.
Ted was always in the hospitality industry, even at home. In addition to owning his own restaurant in Chicago, he was Director of Services for both Marriott and The Point Resorts at some of the finest hotels in the world.
He taught us right from wrong, how to work hard and productively, and how to properly treat others. He will be missed by many. He was one of a kind, a true “gentle” man.
Ted is preceded in death by his wife Arlene, son Robert “Bobby”. He is survived by his son Ron (Diana), Daughter Nancy (Tom) Oltersdorf, daughter-in-law Charlyn Kolb, son Tad Bloss, grand children Onna (Daniel) Bump, Calie Jo Kolb, Berni (Benny) Zazueta, Amber (Tom) Fusco, Erik Kolb, Derek Oltersdorf, Krista Oltersdorf, great grand children Dante Zazueta, Caleb and Aubrey Bump, Step sister Pat Schulz, numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.
There will be a celebration of life party sometime after the first of the year. It will be announced on facebook and by invitation. Please let us know if you would like to attend the celebration of Ted’s life party.
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