Even if you did not have a chance to know Ted, I encourage you explore the thoughts below because I think we can all gain a little something from the purposeful way Ted lived. I know I did.
Get a sense for the scope of Ted’s life by taking a look a look at the nice article by Patti Brandt Burgess published in the Traverse City Record Eagle.
Also remarkable is Ted’s obituary.
Ted served as the second Board Chair of MLUI, and the third chair was Bob Sutherland, who you may know as the owner of Cherry Republic. Bob is one of the most active business leaders advancing solutions to the climate crisis. Bob sent me this thought about Ted:
“Ted brought such class and civility to all the issues he worked on in northern Michigan. He was amazingly smooth and sophisticated. I loved spending time with him and fully appreciated his openness to giving me his time. He was a mentor to me.”
Keith Schneider was the visionary and courageous founder of MLUI and served as the director until 2000. After leaving the organization, Keith worked for nonprofit organizations addressing climate change and global water issues. But in the end, Keith is, and always will be, a writer (and I’ve always said he’s a thinker and a writer, because he showed me time and time again that you can’t be a strong writer unless you take the time to really think through what you are trying to say). So, I thought it was just terrific when I emailed Keith and asked him about Ted, and 30 minutes later (really, it was that fast!) he sent me this fine tribute (he had clearly thought about it!).
“Ted loved our region. He did as much as any person could to secure the natural heritage and improve the quality of life here. Very shortly after we opened the doors of the Michigan Land Use Institute in 1995, Ted walked into our Benzonia office, unannounced, all charm and purposeful discretion.
“Though our staff was tiny and all our work lay ahead, Ted saw promise and put his shoulder to the enterprise. His strengths were development, management, and oversight. He counseled us on strengthening our administrative infrastructure, and our board of directors. He put us in touch with funders. He served as our second chairman during a period of steady growth in the late 1990s. And he and Marcia were generous donors.
“For a time at the organization’s very start he’d arrive in Benzonia, fresh off a flight from his work in Washington, D.C., and come by the office to be briefed on our progress. At the conclusion of our talk he’d hand me a $500 check, knowing how much that meant to the institute’s stability. Ted moved fast. I barely had time to thank him before he slipped away. At least two other prominent environmental organizations in our region — The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and FLOW — relied on Ted’s guidance and his endearing ways to shape their start-up programs and early successes.