He spent his life here in the town he so often referred to as “God’s Country”! He was educated in the Grand County school system, participating in sports and school activities. However, school was not to be his favorite pastime but rather necessity, while his real love was in Moab’s great outdoors. He was an avid sportsman from his youth, and loved to hunt in the La Sal and Henry Mountains with his Dad and Uncle Les, and fish in the Colorado River and La Sal Mountain lakes, which he would hike into and stay for several days as a kid, just to enjoy the great outdoors.
In 1956, at 18, Ted went to work for Swank Drilling as a driller helper and later as a driller, operating rigs on the La Sal Mountains and areas in Grand and San Juan counties. In 1958, as a driller, he went to work for Burt Vivian Drilling, and remained there until 1960, when he began a new career in the construction trade, working with his cousin, Eben Scharf, at Scharf Construction, in Moab, building and remodeling homes and other structures. In 1961 he went to work for Clever Construction in Moab and remained there for many years. The construction trade was to become his main occupation throughout his life as he became an exceptional journeyman carpenter, in all aspects of the trade.
On Nov. 5, 1959, Ted married his childhood sweetheart, Vonna Kerby, in Moab. To this union were born, three sons: Ted, Todd and Eric. In 1961, Ted and Vonna homesteaded three acres of government land, and Ted began the process of building the home they spent 53 years together in, at 1680 S. McDougall Lane, in Moab.
Ted’s active life as a sportsman and in the construction field, was altered greatly when at the age of 28, Ted was diagnosed with the devastating disease of multiple sclerosis. This disease was to shorten his work career; challenge his ability to be totally mobile and productive physically, but he proved, in spite of great adversity for the next 47 years, that life would not beat him. He kept his unbreakable spirit and commitment to his family, while teaching his sons the great value of work, honesty and integrity. He was a man of few words, but if he gave you his word, “You could take it to the bank”!
So to summarize just a bit of who he was ... “His family was his life: He was a man of unbreakable courage and determination; Ted was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and he possessed a deep and personal love of his Savior; He was dedicated to the value of hard work and he held a deep and abiding love for this county.”
To those of us who were blessed to know and love him, we give grateful thanks for his life, and for his amazing courage and determination to live life on life’s terms, without complaint. The knowledge that families are forever will hold us till we are with him again.
Ted is survived by his wife, Vonna; sons, Ted D. (Bev), Monticello, Todd (Cassandra) Moab, and Eric (Jenny), Moab; grandchildren, Cortney (Brady) Blake, St. George, Erika, Tyson, Tyler, Kerby, Marci, Jeremy and Kaitlin; and three great-grandchildren, Aiden, Addison and Ashtynn Blake. He is also survived by aunts, Gayle Tangren and Joanne Jackson, Moab; brother-in-law, Venice Denney, Moab; and sister-in-law, Barbara (Don) Peterson, Mt. Pleasant, Utah; and numerous nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Gloria Denney.
Graveside services were held at 1 p.m., Aug. 12, at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Moab. A family visitation was held from 6-8 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 11, at Spanish Valley Mortuary, 386 North 100 West, in Moab.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.SpanishValleyMortuary.com.