Theodore Milo Petersdorf obituary photo
 
In Memory of

Theodore Milo Petersdorf

May 10, 1930 - January 24, 2018

Obituary


Our beloved father and grandfather, Theodore Milo Petersdorf, passed into the hands of our heavenly father January 24, 2018. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 10, 1930 to Edward and Ival Petersdorf, Ted was the youngest of four children: Floyd, Russell, and June. Ted graduated from Marshfield High School, Missouri in 1949. During his time in high school, Ted played basketball, softball, baseball, and competed in the discus. Known as "Big Ted" he was quite a pitcher and batter for his high school team. Also while in high school, he met a lovely young woman,...

Our beloved father and grandfather, Theodore Milo Petersdorf, passed into the hands of our heavenly father January 24, 2018. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 10, 1930 to Edward and Ival Petersdorf, Ted was the youngest of four children: Floyd, Russell, and June. Ted graduated from Marshfield High School, Missouri in 1949. During his time in high school, Ted played basketball, softball, baseball, and competed in the discus. Known as "Big Ted" he was quite a pitcher and batter for his high school team. Also while in high school, he met a lovely young woman, Irene Federly, on a blind date at a basketball game. Ted was tall, athletic, and outgoing while Irene was petite, quiet, and shy. Opposites certainly attracted and they married November 24, 1950. The newlyweds were soon parted when Ted joined the Navy May 2, 1951. He was stationed in Virginia where he mostly played baseball, drew murals, and handled clerical duties. He was honorably discharged April 1, 1955 as an Airman and received a National Defense Ribbon.
Ted played baseball after high school in Triple A ball and the Navy. During his short career, he pitched against Willie Mays and described how Willie "lit him up". A rotator cuff injury ended a short but sweet career in the minor leagues, but that didn't stop him from teaching his grandsons Paul, Zachary, Nathan, and Connor a thing or two about pitching and fielding.
After the military, Ted and Irene moved to LA, then Merced, and then finally to Visalia. In 1953, their first son, Scott, was born followed by another son, Tracy in 1963, and then their daughter, Jana, in 1965. Ted was a hands-on dad and taught all of the kids how to fish, hunt, play baseball and play basketball. He loved fishing so much, he actually wrote How To Skin A Cat; a pamphlet including: how to skin a catfish in about 20 seconds, picture examples, and old "fish" stories. He was a generous, loving and fun Dad who took Jana to father/daughter dances, coached his sons in baseball, and attended every play, concert, or game the kids participated in.
Ted had numerous jobs during his young adult years, but anyone who knew him, knows he was a born salesman. Ted spent most of his career as a salesman for McCormick Schilling Spice Company. He won Distinguished Salesman, Top New Account Awards, and received multiple letters from corporate executives about his ability to secure business others had not. One supervisor wrote, "I only wish that I could get each and every salesman in this division to sell the same way that you do." He retired after 32 years as Visalia's "Spice Man".
Ted's wife encouraged him to join the Mighty Oak Barbershop Chorus in 1985. With his Bing Crosby-like Baritone/Bass voice, he was a natural. Ted not only sang but designed and painted hundreds of pieces of scenery during his membership. He received Barbershopper of the Year in 2000. He sang for hundreds of hours at convalescent and retirement homes, social and cultural events, as well as for singing telegrams during Valentines Day and other special occasions.
After a long illness, Irene passed away in 2000. Ted kept busy with the chorus and his children and grandchildren. It was soon after he met the woman who he would spend the rest of his life with, Aileen Rice. The two had met years before on bowling teams. Together, they built a life in Exeter, gardening, building additions to her home, and attending many social events. They vacationed together in Minnesota, Myrtle Beach, and Baltimore meeting one another's families and just enjoying each other's company. Ted enjoyed visiting with Aileen's children Sonia, Kelly, and Jimmy and with all the grand and great grandkids.
Ted could make friends in an instant and he could talk to anyone. He was funny, irascible, and loyal to everyone he called family or friend. He worked hard, enjoyed life, and he is a man who will be missed even though his influence, goodness, and talents will remain long after he is gone.
Ted is survived by his children Tracy Petersdorf (Jennifer), Jana Petersdorf (Patrick Cartwright), and his adopted daughter Koleen Secrest (Steve) all of Visalia; wife, Aileen Rice of Exeter; his grandchildren Paul Petersdorf (Jaime) of Helena, Montana; Zachary and Nathan Petersdorf of Visalia, Johnathan and Brianna Rodriguez of Visalia, Connor and Dylan Cartwright of Visalia, his brother-in-law Roland Federly (Pat), and great grandchildren Jace and Maycee. Ted had close relationships with his nieces and nephews in Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Ted was preceded in death by his wife Irene, parents Edward and Ival Petersdorf; his siblings Floyd, Russell, and June; his in-laws Neale and Dorothy Federly, and his son Scott Petersdorf.
The family would like to thank the staff at Magnolia Park, Optimal Hospice, and especially Esperanza Hansen who tried so hard to support Ted and the family with his last wishes. Thank you also to the Methodist Church for their prayers and support, and the nurses and doctor who cared about our father while he was at Kaweah Delta.
Those wishing to make a gift in Ted's memory may do so to The Mighty Oak Barbershop Chorus, (901-4615) or to The Petersdorf Family Memorial Scholarship (636-8722).
Services will be February 6, 2018 at 4 pm in the sanctuary of The Methodist Church of Visalia on the corner of Caldwell and Akers.
Tributes and condolences can be made at www.millerchapel.com.
Arrangements entrusted to Miller Memorial Chapel, 1120 W. Goshen Ave., Visalia, CA (559) 732-8371.