Theodore “Ted” Stephan, 94, passed away peacefully in his home in Scottsdale, AZ on Wednesday, November 18, 2020. He departed life the same way he had lived it: with indomitable strength of mind and body, fierce tenacity for life, and a dignified gracefulness of spirit.
Born February 27, 1926 in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Ted was raised during the Depression and became a young man through the backdrop of World War II. He developed a deep appreciation of music early on through his mother who was a gifted pianist and opera-lover, and then a love of dance in high school. Those interests, forged during turbulent times, became passions that endured throughout his lifetime.
Upon graduation from high school, he joined the Navy flight program in 1944, training as a radar and radio operator and served until his honorable discharge in 1946. He then attended Ohio State University on the G.I. Bill. While there, he was a member of the Ohio State Swim Team, the SAE fraternity, and worked as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray’s Dance Studio.
After visiting Fort Lauderdale, FL with the swim team as one of the original “spring breakers”, he fell in love with the sun and sand. Drawn by the potential of burgeoning South Florida, he moved there after graduating in 1950. He started a career in the mortgage banking industry while continuing to teach ballroom dancing and doing photo modeling for hotel brochures, travel postcards, and billboards. He soon became the face (and bathing suit body) of many iconic South Florida advertisements of the 1950s and 1960s.
He met his first wife, Juliet, while modeling. After marrying in 1952, they raised son, Chad, together until their divorce in 1961. In 1964 he married his second wife, Loralee, and they had two children, Cary and Larissa.
Ted left the mortgage banking industry in the early 1970s and went on to develop several co-ops and condominiums. He also was an avid supporter of the arts in Florida, particularly opera. During this time, he became interested in health and nutrition. As with all things that Ted did, his interest quickly became an almost evangelical passion. He and Loralee built a successful business as Shaklee distributors through the 1970s.
In 1980, the family moved to Colorado Springs, CO. After he and Loralee split in 1985, he moved to Scottsdale, AZ. His interests in his real estate and nutrition continued to keep him busy. He became involved in genealogical research, while continuing his love of dance, health, the outdoors, and supporting the arts.
He found his community when he joined Who’s Who Singles Arizona, and their weekly dances and socials became a mainstay for him. Through that group he also met partners in dance and life whose love and support graced him over the years.
Ted was an active supporter of Ballet Arizona, Arizona Opera, MIIM, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, and the Ronald Reagan Library among other charities.
Graveside service will be held on Tuesday, November 24th at 12:00pm at Paradise Memorial Gardens, 9300 E. Shea Blvd. Scottsdale AZ. Masks and social distancing will be required. The service will be live streamed online at 12:00 pm Mtn time at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLU9_K8cQAPn_cpY4odD1wtVddgOcW0ua_ for friends who cannot attend the service.
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