Thaddeus [Ted] Morgan Knoll
October 3rd. 1945, East Orange, New Jersey.
February 26th. 2019, Whittier, California.
WHITTIER, CA-- Thaddeus Ted Morgan Knoll, 73 originally of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania-by the way of East Orange, New Jersey, passed away peacefully at his Whittier home early morning Tuesday, February 26th. With his husband and life partner of 33 years, Richard Cisneros, in his company at the time of death.
Ted grew-up and was reared in Nanticoke, the first-born son of the late Dr. Alois and Edith [Morgan] Knoll. Ted was churched at the historic Nebo Baptist, then a predominantly immigrant, Welsh-Baptist congregation, a robust, music-filled, singing and worshiping community.
Ever the emergent performer, Ted often mentioned to me how his nascent desire to perform would manifest, even as a child. He would sneak into Nebos sanctuary, don vestments play-acting, as a minister, emulating and mimicking the mannerisms and gestures he witnessed on Sunday mornings.
Ted was a graduate of Greater Nanticoke High School, class of 1963. While there he furthered his passion for performance and theatre arts. As a young adult, Ted founded his own peer-powered student-led theatre troupe in nearby Wilkes-Barre, the fledgling troupe, an example of 1960s teen-empowerment, accountability, and self-management: The Janus Players.
Knoll also was the local student radio broadcaster and D.J. at station WNAK, Nanticoke, he served as both on-air talent and station engineer for the regularly scheduled High School Happenings broadcasts. Moving onto university, while Ted aspired to have attended the [English] Royal Academy of Performing Arts [RADA] he would instead study and graduate from Mansfield State University, upstate Pennsylvania, earning his Bachelors of Arts in Theatre in 1968.
While at Mansfield, Ted earned the accolades of his peers by his selection as Best Actor of the Year and served as president of Mansfields resident troupe The Players.
Also always a bit of the risk taker-daredevil, Ted sky-dove once while at Mansfield, landing badly, breaking both ankles subsequently transported via wheelchair by friends and admirers for a semester-long duration!
Decades later, as Ted often enjoyed a good head-rush we would ride very-high-velocity thrill rides at Magic Mountain [The Shock Wave] and he would enjoy making successive bungee jumps when they became trendy, just for the adrenaline-spiking and head-clearing thrill of it too!
At his mothers urging, Ted relocated to the West Coast, accompanied by his companion of the time--Mary Hayes, who, at the time of their introduction-was recently widowed. Both were seeking new opportunities, and fresh starts in Hollywood, California. Ted and Mary, including her three teen-aged children in tow, drove across the U.S contained within a tiny Ford Falcon, arriving on the Santa Monica beachfront, where they camped-out their first few days in California.
Hayes was open, accepting, attractive, worldly, witty and tender--possessing a wry and loquacious manner. In a previous life, Mary enjoyed a varied theatrical career as a Radio City Rockette, a Broadway chorusgirl, and dancer, and notoriously as an Atlantic City beachfront diving horse-riding lady too!
The work and opportunities Ted and Mary found in the Los Angeles area included: jobs within the television, movie and hospitality, real estate, and business management industries. Ted got his [SAG] Screen Actors Guild Card, [--Iron Eyes Cody inducted him into the guild] got representation, and the requisite head-shots and proceeded to act in scant-bit-parts within forgettable features, and enjoyed an occasional game-show appearance as a contestant too! [Actors at the time populated the contestant ranks to get needed exposure in front of any camera available in order to be seen.]
Consistent television industry work would be had with Ted joining the IATSE theatrical stage employees union. Ted worked at ABC Prospect and Talmage studios, CBS Television City, and NBC Burbank studios as a skilled stagehand. He would recall with pride working backstage on The Red Skelton and Carol Burnett Variety Shows, The Lawrence Welk Show, and Rowan and Martins Laugh-In. He even did a regular stint being a prize-box-mover-walker on Lets Make a Deal game show!
Following his work behind-the-curtain support of the entertainment industry, Ted chose to enter the hospitality chapter of his work-life. Probably following Mary Hayes likely lead--into the restaurant and bar management, and both wholesale and retail sales for fifteen years. This chapter culminated in the prestigious responsibilities afforded to manage and serving at the Marquis Restaurant, the successor to Sinatras Villa Capri, and bar service and management at the flagship location of the celebrated Carlos and Charlies club on the Sunset Strip, Beverly Hills.
By the late 1970s Ted would uncover, wrestle, and ultimately embrace his personal demons of both substance addiction and unrealized Gay self-identification. His personal struggles, and self-acceptance as an openly Gay man, and long-term AA based recovery journeys established his tandem life purposes and work trajectories for the balance of his life.
Ted would come to appreciate these challenges as gifts--the stuff--challenges each of us are presented with which to build--from--God. Paramount was Teds ideal to live authentically and in Service to others within his local community, wherever that was, serving those in need, as was modeled by his community of origin, back during his Nanticoke years.
Career trajectories beginning in the late 80s into the 1990s included his work as a certified chemical dependency specialist and counselor and domestic violence-batters intervention facilitator. A large part of Teds growth and interest in helping others develop and evolve spurred him to seek further education and academic-philosophical consolidation as he worked to earn his Masters in Organizational Management from Antioch University, Los Angeles, where he was honored for his academic excellence as the class Valedictorian at commencement.
While in late 1982, Ted Came-Out and owned who he was, embraced a solid AA-based sobriety and as the Gay Pride movement matured--the HIV-AIDS crisis loomed. Ted found himself at a crossroads of sorts. A junction where opportunities presented him with a new channel of political advocacy as an early co-founding member of the Log Cabin Gay Republicans movement. In this way Ted revisited anew his traditional classically-conservative foundational values rooted back in the small-town Northeastern Pennsylvania of his youth. Those values included: the advocating of a small-government ideal, a pro-entrepreneurial, small business encouraging stance, a place at the table for all, and service to the community. [As many LGBTQ folks owned small enterprises--Log Cabin provided a natural political alternative for many.]
I recall Ted voicing his disgust at the abuses and blatant corruption endemic of Machine-Politics as often witnessed in Eastern cities. Because of the favoritism he observed when growing-up, Ted brought a dim view to what he saw as single-flavor politics in the ultra-Leftist dominance and political representation that colored Gay community politics in the Los Angeles County in the early 1980s.
Moreover Ted, the co-founders, and Log Cabin instigator, Frank Ricchiazzi understood the strategic disadvantage of the LGBTQ community aligning its political allegiances with only a single party and how that singular alliance could prove disadvantageous when that party is out of power.
A great part of Teds efforts was in organizing and establishing templates for how the greater LGBTQ community would consolidate power, influence and money going forward in light of the many challenges presented by the AIDS crisis. Ted organized and facilitated the first APLA Aids Walk fundraiser event, Hollywood, and Early-Frost viewing parties helping to overcome the denial and ignorance many held around the manifold issues of the health crisis.
Ted and I met on a January 18, 1986 evening, at a West-Hollywood birthday-house party for his OA Sponsor at the time, Fred. Our lives together took us through many varied and wonderful chapters, challenges, adventures, and innumerable memories made and shared through our thirty-three plus years enjoyed Trudging the road of Happy Destiny with each other.
Know that the last thing he ever imagined, at the conclusion of his life, was that he would be revered and celebrated for his decades long and successful social work. Ted created the operating plan and established the guiding philosophy of the Whittier model First Day Coalition Shelter recovery from homelessness method. Under his enlightened leadership and guidance thousands were delivered out of homelessness in the first fifteen years of First Days operation!
Ted truly imagined that his name would be in lights over the title on some Broadway marquee, instead he will be remembered as doing Higher Powers work among the least of those.
Ted was preceded into death by his younger brother Norman in 2017. He is survived by Richard Cisneros his husband and his sister-in-law Diane Knoll and nephew Zachary Knoll.
THE TED I KNEW...by Richard Cisneros
Prepared for the East Coast, Oak Lawn Memorial Event, Hanover, Pennsylvania Monday May 6th. 2019
Ted Morgan Knoll, my husband, companion, and life-partner for 33 years and one month, was always more than a compendium of his milestones and achievements accumulated over a lifetime. He took much from his traditional cultural roots, and his geographic Lodestone and the place of his rearing, the city ensconced within the rolling emerald mountains and valleys that so define Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Ted was born of Polish-German, Welsh-American rootsand bits and pieces of others, including a significant percentage of Neanderthal. He built a life based on many of the values he learned back in Nanticoke Pennsylvania. All as a child growing up in the post WWII era, of the late-forties, the nineteen-fifties, and the sixties.
Big industry, in the regions case, big-mining, can benefit and/or harm you--take for instance, the wealth producing-land devaluing tradition of Anthracite coal mining, that served the Northeastern railroads and pig-iron mills for more than a century in the region.
Any industry can come or go, indeed many, came and went through the years. Silk-spinning and weaving, garment manufacturing--McGregor Sportswear, and various dress makers and manufacturers, came, stayed for a sustained time, as did the Dixon-Ticonderoga pencil company, and then either closed, consolidated or moved offshore-out of country, for lower labor costs. In this way Nanticoke has struggled financiallyreally since the mid-1950s, commencing with the steep decline of the coal business. Remnants of which relocated to strip mine coal in West Virginia. Like so much of the Rustbelt regions of the U.S., while Forgotten and bypassed by more traditional industry, Nanticoke has evolved into a bedroom suburb and largely has aged into a majority-retirement community.
Many who work, do so in administrative positions, for quasi-government financial employers such as Sallie-Mae-Navient, the higher education loan-maker-consolidator. Many others are employed in regional warehouse-type fulfillment centers. Also younger more flexible, digitally savvy individuals, take my nephew Zack, trained and educated in theatrical design, lighting and production at Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre. Zack, having grown weary and aged-out of providing on-the-road lighting and technical support for travelingnational-theatricals, has chosen instead to create his own entrepreneurial opportunities.
Zacks recent partnership, located in Nanticoke, provides custom rapid-prototyping of one-of-a-kind, or small run, artfully produced, highly detailed and complicated-three-dimensionally-printed-stage-props, at an on-demand, as-needed basis. Because of the efficiencies of three-dimensional printing coupled with low rural overhead, costs are manageable, and turn-around is expedited. I understand that Zack is doing a brisk business!
Community remains important--you care and invest in those around you, even the least of them--countless narratives remain possible here. Three I will mention: Teds brothers decades-long employment as lead supervising, master plumber with Petroski Plumbing Contractors of Nanticoke, Teds father-Alois, commitment to serving the greater community of Nanticoke, first in his private dental practice, and later as staff dentist at Retreat, the local State Mental Hospital.
Finally in regards to serving the least of those among you, Ted told me the story of Crazy Francie. How Ted described her presentationshe must have been a sight! I heard that she would regularly wash her wiry straw-like mop of hair with Spic-n-Spanan extraordinarily harsh shampoo treatmentI would think!
Today we would likely call Francie, developmentally disabled. What remains important--the part of the story that Ted utilized later in fashioning The Whittier First Day [Recovery From Homelessness] Shelter philosophy of (R.I.C.E.) where residents would reciprocate and create interdependent, mutually beneficial community engagements, through meaningful acts of service.
While residing and recovering from homelessness at First Day, the residents needed to be needed too! Giving people handouts without them reciprocating in some manner, dehumanizes them, Ted believed. It hampered their self-esteem from recovering too, contributing to a sense of worthlessness. Which in-turn could inhibit further recovery and normalization back into community.
This subset of the community at Whittier First Day was known as the First Day Angels. The Angels would go out into the greater Whittier community and provide volunteer service, small and large. Examples of the kinds of service included, setting up the historic Uptown street celebrations including antique fairs, musical events, community festivals and classic car shows. The Angels aided the Whittier Police on a volunteer basis, in managing crowds, directing traffic, setting up chairs, barricades, and hosting and managing public events. They also provided the inevitable pre-event set-ups and teardowns that accompany any public event.
Getting back to Francies role in service to Nanticoke, her community was that even she, with her limited capacity, I was told, had a job to perform in that little township of Teds rearing. She would earn money delivering groceries to private homes with her repurposed toy wagon in tow behind her, I imagine her, trundling along the slate sidewalks, delivering parcels of produce, meats, eggs, dairy and dry goods to local families.
Francie was needed! She had a role to fulfillher little task to perform, and had an albeit modest, contribution to make to her neighbors. Francie too, belonged to and in with the citizenry of Nanticoke and had a purpose.
Everyone needs to have a purpose!
Everyone needs to belong!
Like his younger brother Norman, Ted contributed mightily to the good of his region, Church, City, and Community in which he was ensconced. Norman leveraged his love of music and performance, playing in celebrated regional and local Polka bands, and as ongoing music minister at Nebo Baptist Church. He enriched the worship experience playing keyboard, guitar, and brass, all in abiding praise to the Lord, and the attending congregants. Norman also provided long-term community service as a volunteer fireman for four-decades, to the Community of Greater Nanticoke.
Understand that throughout Teds fifty-one years of living out-West in Southern California, he too became anchored within his community, in different ways in different chapters
In the first decade in Los Angeles, Mary and Teds life was about getting settled, making a living, raising her teenage children. Employment was centered mostly in hospitality, and support services in the television industry. They settled into the culture and community of, at first, the San Fernando Valley. Ted worked at Howard Johnsons as bartender-manager, and then he proceeded to get a foothold in the ABC, NBC and CBS television studios as a backstage crafts-and-tradesman. Ted dappled in real estate and became a broker. Mary worked consistently as bar waitress and restaurant hostess throughout this period.
Together Mary, Ted and others, as the business entity known as TadMar, established a Hollywood boulevard Parisian flavored buffet-style restaurant Montmartre, timed to capitalize on the long-hoped-for late 1970s Hollywood renaissance, which due to an unforeseen economic downturn, failed to materialize.
Later they leveraged themselves and participated in the real estate boom of the late seventies-early eighties, acquiring and losing first a SF Valley rental property then a handsome multiple-family apartment building, near the historic Hancock Park district. In between, these ventures, Ted opened and managed branches of the Sizzler Steakhouse chain.
In 1978, in a move towards a First-Love of politics and social activism, Ted became a circuit-speaker advocating for Howard Jarvis newly minted landmark, Proposition-13 property tax-limit ballot proposition. Ted worked as a liquor and beverage wholesaler-salesman-representative too. In his final high-watermark in hospitality, he did a stint managing the renowned and storied Martoni-Marquis restaurant in Hollywood, and the celebrated bar and the Sunset Boulevard institution--Carlos and Charlies.
Ted could and would beautifully organize complicated groups of people, ideas, agendas,
and systems, making it look magically effortless
to the naive observer!
The take away regarding Teds innate employment skill-set was that he would inevitably rise in any management chain of command, or situation in which he found himself. Ted always possessed and leveraged a high degree of natural leadership talent, recognized by anyone spending a bit of time with him, including an ability to systematize, clarify priorities, and inspire others. He also enjoyed a hardwired lifelong gift of a built-in political acumen,
Ted remained always, above all else,
--A natural politician.
The Ted and Mary Story:
Ted had relocated to California with his companion from the Mansfield University community, Mary Hayes, along with her three teenage-children. Both Mary and Ted saw California as offering a refuge from the limits and constraints of small-town life. For Mary the-geographic-to-California, offered perhaps a page-turn from her life as a recently widowed, submarine-hoagie sandwich maker furloughed in Mansfield. While in a previous more glamorous life, Mary, as ex-Broadway Chorus Dancer, Radio City Rockette, and Atlantic City Diving Horse Girl, had a very unique set of life-experiences.
Ted, who understood and suppressed his long emergent Gay identity, [he knew he was affectionally different, as a adolescent boy--hiding his copies of Muscle Pictorial magazines in a cigar box under the floorboards in his attic bedroom at the house on Green Street] the discovery of which could have been really problematic in Nanticoke, where everyone knew youyes-Everyone Knew You!
Recall that the family as Mary, Ted, and her kids were constituted, simply cohabitating, likely fell outside of the very traditional social norms of Nanticoke in 1968. Going back home, for either of them would not serve them, especially considering their age differences.
The Gay Liberation movement had yet to coalesce with the New York Stonewall Riots, still pending a year later. Back in Small-Town America, being Gay would likely encounter, a degree of social relegation and ridicule as: The Town Queer which for a nascent, socially isolated alcoholic [as Ted would later discover about himself] might prove fatal.
Recall also that non-compliant latently-homosexual young men, even in 1968 were controlledcastrated, medicinally, or worse, nullified via electroshock therapy or most sadlysurgically lobotomized into compliance.
Ted gave voice to these fears to me as he recalled his feelings of the time. While of course, these things never came to pass for him. [I nonetheless remain grateful that he choose to come to California, otherwise we might have never met and have fallen in love!] I truly believe Ted thought his freedom and autonomy would be threatened in these ways if he chose to stay behind. Finally it was at his Mothers urging, for him to seek the openness and opportunities, as afforded out-West, as she understood them, possible only in California!
The naive or uninitiated to the complex realities of relationships in the second-half of the twentieth-century, might question the Ted & Mary connection, if Ted, indeed understood his emergent Gayness?
It is not hard for me to imagine Mary, talkativewhat we might call today, a bit snarky, humorous--attractive, and sensuous, in a youthful Mae West kind-of way--how alluring she would be. All this, behind the counter in a sandwich shop! [She was aged fifteen-years Teds senior.]
Presenting as I am sure she did, as worldly, experienced and seasoned, outspoken about life, her experience in the performing arts, Broadway, the business and all, ostensibly sparkling like a Gemstone, Mary shone, in an otherwise dim college-town sandwich shop. Meeting and befriending her would be heady stuff, and mightily attractive to a recently minted graduate of theatrical arts.
Someone sympathetic, and congruent to the possibilities of a move West, as Ted would be back then. Mary offered Ted friendship, tenderness, and non-judgmental acceptance, as a theatrically-inclined person might expect to be, about things like sexuality and self-identification, and just might make a fine partner in a life changing transcontinental journey, all five people, jammed into a tiny Ford Falcon compact, making the long drive across the country, taking the first few nights refuge, after arriving, camping and sleeping on the sands of Santa Monica beach, at the last third of the twentieth-century.
Years wore on, work, parties, more work,
and more play ensued Ted discovered and began to address his romantic-addictive-idealistic-compulsive personality, first surrendering his three-pack-a-day smoking-habit, acquired when performing in a stage production requiring his character to chain-smoke! Then roared his struggle with Jack Daniels whiskeyhe picked up social-drinking in college. Ted resisting and bargained at firstultimately falling into binge drinking, perhaps as a means to subvert his emerging sexuality?
The pros call this pattern periodic-alcoholic-drinking. Ted stacked-up a string of 502s--driving-under-the-influence citations, thereby earning a solemn nudge-from-the-judge requiring mandatory attendance at AA meetings. So this was his begrudging introduction to the 12-Steps, that had the requisite power to pry-open Teds most willful and defiant ego, so characteristic of most addicts. [Myself included!]
It was within these self-help, peer-supportive spiritually-centered settings, introduced to him the late 1970s, embraced more fully at about the time concurrent with our meeting, where Ted learned and began to internalize the 12-Step way of thinking, loving, serving, and living that would inform and shape the next three decades of his life.
A scant few years later than Ted, I would enter a parallel recovery program, addressing my carbohydrate addictive way of coping with frustration, loss, fear, doubt, and grief addressed and rectified, within the rooms of OA and later CEA-HOW. The same 12-Step tools and principles applied there too.
The lessons Ted learned in those early rooms of AA did not quite stick at first, by his own admission, but by the early 1980s Ted did embrace the full tenets of AA based recovery. And proceeded to rebuild his life upon those tenets.
As Ted embraced sobriety, Mary, who preferred her dark and smoky haunts, increasingly wanted to retreat into the tinkling of the cocktail glasses, the piano bar rapport, cigarettes, old friends from the past, embracing evermore-tightly, a treacherously foggy nostalgia.
Her best years were behind her, as the clich claims...
Teds best years remained ahead, in a renewed, fully embraced life of sobriety, abstinence, openness, self-acceptance, Ted assumed seeking an expansive purposefulness. --Authenticity!
It was in the context of Overeaters Anonymous, that Teds sponsor in that program, at the time, hosted a mid-January birthday party at his West Hollywood home, at which we made our first fortuitous acquaintance on January 18, 1986.
Abiding Love and Nostalgia
for His Nanticoke Home Base:
Returning to the fact of Ted choosing to relocate to the Left Coast, did not require that he renunciate his love and nostalgia for the region of his rearing, the people, traditions and landmarks, and memories that so defined and rooted him in the Wyoming Valley, Luzerne County, and the community and environs of Nanticoke.
As we were planning our first trip back to his home region in 1987, Ted could hardly contain his excitement, being so eager to introduce me to his natal family, and so many beloved landmarks and touchstones of his youth and rearing. After flying from West to East to Philadelphia, my first cross continental plane trip, we boarded a puddle-jumper [propeller-powered local commuter aircraft] landing in Avoca airport, Wilkes-Barre, just outside Nanticoke. Norman, his wife Diane, their young son Zack, Al--Teds Dad, and I met in rapid and warm succession.
No sooner had we arrived and dropped our bags in the guest bedroom, we were off in Als car to sightsee the old downtown. Other bits of each day included short drives to a trailhead [the characteristically dense Pennsylvanian woods remain truly verdant and wondrous curiosity to this West Coast kid!] to hike to the second-resi[voir] the top of Tillsbury Knob, the decaying coal breakers, and collieries, the rolling emerald-hued hillsTed would correct memountains, comb banks, the Bluebird Diner, Stookies BBQ [on-dah-way-do-dah-lakeI could hear Norman say!] and the Donut Shop, where the retired menfolk took their morning coffee, and discussed the day's news. Diamonds Candy Shop, Leventhals Mens Shop, the War Monument in the Central Park. Teds old Green Street haunts. [From where the old kindergarten alliance of neighboring children came into being. Little Taddy, Arrena Jenkins and Stanley Jones, created a childrens triadThe Holly-Bully Club, only Arrena survives!]. Wistfully, we visited the vacant lot next to the Coombs home where Teds house of his youth once stood.
Longer drives encompassed more of the region, a Railroad Museum, Coal Mine tour, suburban Philadelphia, stay-overs with Aunt Normathe City Girlarchitectural pilgrimages to Modernist landmarks, including: Louis Kahns University of Pennsylvania Richards Medical Research Towers, the Dupont historic site, home and Gardens Winterthur, Philadelphia Academy of the Arts, Frank Lloyd Wrights Edgar Kaufmann--Fallingwater House, near Donegal, at midstate Pennsylvania. Visits to Kahns Yale designs for the University Art Gallery, and his concluding work there his Center for British Art were memorable forays too.
A Way Forward...Higher Powers Plan
The AA Third Step Prayer states:
God I offer myself to Thee---
To build with me and to do with me
As Thou wilt.
Release me of the bondage of self,
That I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties, that victory over them
May bear witness to those I would help
Of Thy Power, Thy Love,
And Thy Way of Life.
...May I do Thy will always!
When I was and recalling, selecting, and assembling a group of aphorisms, 12-Step readings, prayers and meditations, to be contained within the Memorial program in preparation for the California Celebration Event, a single epigrammatic verse stood out, that somehow completely summed up Teds overarching-inclusive attitude by which he chose to live by:
Outwitted...Meaningfully pithy epigram,
[Teds favorite!] by the Disciples poet Edwin Markham,
They drew a circle that shut me out--
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win
And I drew a circle that took Them in!
Ted, when mentioning HIS FANTASY for his lifes work, he imagined that his name would be in-lights as the clich says, someday above the title on some Broadway shows marquee, marking his celebrity, successful elevation and arrival as an actor-performer and stage personality.
Know that the last thing he ever imagined, at the conclusion of his life, was that he would be revered and celebrated for his decades long and successful social work, as a compassionate drug and alcohol counselor, an effective batters interventionist-specialist (helping men recover from perpetuating further domestic violence and abuse).
Ted was an early organizer-co-promulgator of the expansive Log Cabin Gay Republicans movement in the early 1980staking Gay politics into a wider traditional political realmbeyond the knee-jerk default Leftist Gay Liberalism of the period. In 1984, Ted courageously ran for the 43rd. State Assembly seat as an openly Gay candidate.
In 1985, Ted created and established of the successful organizational-operational template that became the model, for all the subsequent AIDS Walk fundraisers benefiting APLA going forward.
Towards Executive Leadership:
At Social Model Recovery
As assistant to the Executive Director, Bud Hayes, Ted witnessed firsthand the application of 12-Step principles and philosophy applied, and in practice empowering personal growth and change at a residential treatment and recovery program in the Azusa foothills.
Afterwards, Hayes was called to Downtown Los Angeles to troubleshoot the largest inventory of combined, site specific, supportive services coupled with renovated and stabilized [SRO] Single Room Occupancy residential hotels West of the Mississippi. Ted followed suit.
Ted, was brought in as assistant to the Director, where he learned the ropes of the E.D. position, acquiring the necessary confidence of experience of Executive Administration he would use in designing and running the First Day recovery-model he would found and implementing about a decade later.
Between 1999 through his retirement in late 2015 as the founding Executive Director for Whittiers First Day Coalition, Ted was responsible for getting the Community to move from NIMBY to Yes-In-My-Backyard! Ted opened the facility, and designed First Days culture; program and the functionality of its recovery from homelessness plan, and finally assumed responsibility for First Days day-to-day operation as Executive Director for thirteen years.
In this way, Ted, embracing his own imperfections and personal challengesas gifts and opportunities with which to build, from which he learned so much. By Providence he proceeded to build so much. Leveraging, and leavening them with loving experience, abiding curiosity, strength of purpose, hope, and Grace of a Higher Power through which he improved the lives of tens of thousands of previously, addicted, broken, and homeless folks within the greater San Gabriel Valley--Los Angeles County region.
So many countless times, in variously innumerable ways Ted would enlarge the familial-cultural-philosophical-political circle, like the Markham epigram states: a bigger circle--that took them in... to prompt a joining-up with the others.
This would seem to the casual observer, inherently contradictory, but not really--if an adversarial posture could otherwise be side stepped and a more constructive allegiance
Ted would inevitably seek that allegiance!
This achievement was always what Ted did best!
With love and gratitude
--For the gift of time and a loving life shared with him!
[Like how love is expressed in The Velveteen Rabbit By the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.
But these things dont matter at all, because once you are Real you cant be ugly, except to people who dont understand.]
We became Real to each other!
Richard Christopher Cisneros
April 30th. 2019