So Long, Old Friend.

No joke today. Many hearts are heavy with grief today over the passing of one of the best people I have ever met. This blog is dedicated to him, his family, my Eureka Senior High School classmates and all of the other people who love him, which are many.

I first met Ted Sillanpaa when I was 16 years old. Like so many of us, we “clicked” immediately and became life long friends. He had that special something that just made you want to be his friend.

In our senior year of high school, Ted was the editor of the school newspaper, “The Redwood Bark” and I was ASB Vice President and president of the student counsel. Ted ripped me pretty good in the paper that year, but in true fashion he was always honest and if I didn’t like what he printed, he would always give me the chance to give my perspective.
When we finished arguing about the article, we would sit and talk about baseball, a passion he and most of his close friends shared. He had many other friends who shared his passion for journalism. 

Ted was very humble. He was a great writer, friend, father, grandfather although if you told him that, he would deny it. He thought himself to be a regular Joe, although he was far from from the truth. Here are some quotes from some of his friends:

“Other than saying it has been “quite a ride” these past 55 years, there are no words to express what Ted has brought my life. He is my brother. My life’s “buddy.” He is the guy I called when I finally got my A2000! I’m the guy he called when my Vikings lost the Super Bowl! I I sit here trying to specifically mention what Ted meant to shaping me as a person… I can’t…He has been there For everything. Not a specific thing…Everything! My love and unmeasurable condolences go out to his family…He loved you ALL very much. To my friends here on this site…It is certain you took Ted’s crap at one time or another….So, you know he loved you! I will miss my friend and at the same time cherish his memory…..” ~Berk Brown

“It is a pleasure to have known Ted since I was 5 yrs. old. He has played a part in the making and molding of my character. I was fortunate to have visited Ted in Fairfield 6 mos ago. During that time I shared with him an event when we both played on the Babe Ruth 13 yr old Allstars. He started at First Base (ahead of me). I told him I was bummed that I had to sit on the bench but I wasn’t mad at Ted. I told Ted I loved him and I couldn’t be mad at him. I also told him that he was a better player than me and he should start at First Base as that was best for the team. He said he remembered that and always wondered how I felt about that. May his Memory be Eternal.” ~Glenn Matsen

…. yes, through the years, Ted, you’ve followed your strengths and your dreams with sports and written communication — your knack for writing (and talking) in a way that the reader feels like they’re talking with you brings people together to discuss and share the ideas …. similar with the way you jumped on FB to set up groups where we could all jump in and share, even though the miles keep us physically apart. You’re a natural leader and thanks for that!!! 😀 ~Steve Ballard

More from Berk Brown:

“Ted…You remember some of our many conversations…Like the one that reoccurred regarding being a newspaper man…You always thought you couldn’t worry about making friends…You had to “let’er rip” and if the folks in question were unhappy that was just fine as long as you were truthful and accurate! Well, my friend you are all that…Truthful…Accurate…And a lot more…. And from the looks of your rapidly expanding website you managed to hang on to quite a few loving friends…In my mind it speaks to who you are and the kind of man your mom raised!!!! Congratulations buddy…You’re a HUGE success!!!! Love you.”

“Words are not enough. Ted impacted each of our lives in many ways, and we loved him. He was so proud of his family. May God hold you close and give you all strength and comfort as only He can. ❤~Merrie Dawn Enos

“I have never known a Dad who was more proud of his Kids. May God comfort you all. Be thankful for having Ted as your Dad.” ~Joyce Elaine

“Compared to many/most of you I’m late to the Ted Party. He and I became friends in 2011, after a brief time where he was confused by my name and thought I was my wife. He later said, “I thought, yowza! This woman knows her baseball!” Anyway, I wanted to share something that still makes me smile. I grew to be a fan of the a capella group Pentatonix. That may seem an odd place to start, but I told Ted that I liked Pentatonix. After a while I learned that it irritated him. So I started saying it JUST TO irritate him. Why did it bother him? Because Ted and Pam’s daughter Kyndall was in “Vocal Rush,” and Ted knew for God’s own fact that “Vocal Rush” was superior in every way and I was showing a base lack of knowledge and low-class to like anyone else. I loved every minute of the back and forth. But he was that kind of Dad. His kids were going to change the world! He fathered a future President of the United States. There was no doubt in this Dad’s mind. My one biggest regret with Ted is that we missed connecting in person when I came through Willits a couple of years ago. After that, he said “You know one of these days I’m going to jump in the car and show up at your door. We really need to shake hands.” IT won’t happen now, at least for a while. But we will all see our friend, teammate, Dad, and co-worker again. He isn’t in pain, anymore.” ~Kim Hastings

I’m so sorry if I couldn’t fit your quote in. I will say that Ted had so many friends. Some since age five, others from baseball, while others from high school and on Facebook. Even my mother became friends with him on Facebook after – guess what? – an argument.


Ted, you always had my back. You have always continued to be there when I needed to “talk” on fb. I hope I’ve been there for you as well. Ok, the best “Ted” story I can recall… We were custodians at the Kress store. We’d go in after they closed and clean and mop the floors. One day I got a chance to do my first radio gig ever. Of course you offered to do all of the work yourself so I could go. We talked with the boss, Joe Silva, and he said, “I realize you have personal problems but I couldn’t care less”. There was no way I was going to miss that gig. I was just going to slip out the back door and quit. You walked out with me, again having my back. We’ve had fun with Silva’s line over the years, but it always meant a great deal to me. I love you my friend. 

I’ll let pictures tell the rest of the story.

17 thoughts on “So Long, Old Friend.

  1. Wonderful- thank you, Jerry. Ted will certainly be missed by many, and I send my best wishes and sympathy to his wonderful family that he so cherished and nurtured.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful tribute. Ted truly impacted so many people. Ted will be missed by so many, but we will see him again one day. My sympathy goes out to his family during this very difficult time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful tribute Jerry, bless you for writing it. I’m am so thankful that Ted and I reconnected at our 40th HS Reunion and continued our connection through FB these past 2 years. What I got to understand was that we share the same love and passion for our families. He was clearly a wonderful father.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. this is beautiful……..thank you for honoring Ted in this manner…..he deserves it….we had conversations on FB…sometimes very long ones, especially when he was diagnosed…if i hadn’t seen a post for him in a while, i would message to see how he was doing…my last “conversation” he said his bloodwork looked good (Nov. 2016)….so i guess i waited too long, and for that i am sorry that i didn’t catchup one last time….he is deeply missed by all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jerry,
    I lived across the street from Berk Brown from Cutten Elementary, through Winship and into EHS. Ted was almost a fixture at Berk’s house. Also worked with Ted on Bark..;geez I dont have the words.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hadn’t seen or talked to Ted for way too many years. He was one of my first friends when I started high school in a new town. News of his passing brought a flood of high school memories and thoughts of mutual friends. Gone way too soon, but never forgotten. Thoughts and prayers to his family.

    Liked by 1 person

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