As a teenager he worked on a peanut farm in DeLeon, Texas. He said it was the hardest work he had ever done. At age 17 Ted joined the U.S. Navy after World War II started. He was given a medical discharge when an examination showed he had a heart murmur. He also worked at many gas stations in his younger days where he soldered radiators and was a mechanic who repaired cars.
In 1945, Ted met the love of his life, Martha Terry. Ted worked seasonally for the Forest Service at various fire Lookout stations in Arizona. Ted’s first permanent job with the federal government was working at the Navajo Army Depot at Belmont, Ariz., (where ammunition and explosives were stored), as a general maintenance worker. He was transferred to Grand Canyon National Park as a truck driver. He and Martha made their home in Grand Canyon National Park with their four children, Harvey, Linda, Debbie and Mike.
Ted built his first pick-up truck with his own hands using scraps and other parts he acquired. Working on vehicles was a life-long hobby, and he became a proficient machinist using his personal lathe. Ted worked for the National Park Service as a truck driver, maintenance worker, maintenance foreman II, and eventually, as an equipment specialist.
Ted moved his family to Moab, Utah, in 1966, and was the maintenance foreman for Arches National Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, and Canyonlands National Park. In 1968, National Park Service headquarters requested that Ted return to Grand Canyon, where he engineered the Trans-Canyon water system that serves over 3 million people a year. He remained in that position until he retired in 1980 at the age of 55.
Ted and Martha made their home in Castle Valley, Utah, after Ted worked for the National Park Service for 32 years. Ted said he wanted to work for 30 years and be retired for 30 years; he surpassed that goal. He built his home in Castle Valley in the ground as a modern way to conserve energy and be comfortable year-round. He also spent much of his retirement working on his seven acres in Castle Valley. After Martha passed away he lived in Emery, Utah, to live close to his daughter Linda and her family. In 2010, Ted returned to Arizona to live with his youngest son, Mike.
Ted was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Martha Compton Terry; daughter, Linda Barnes; and siblings, Harvey and Gerald Terry.
He is survived by his son, Harvey (Debra), his daughter, Debbie (Ed Nelson), and his son, Mike (Cherie); 17 grandchildren; 34 great-grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren.
There will be a memorial service at Grand Canyon National Park at a later date, where he will be laid to rest next to his loving wife, Martha Terry.