At 5:15 AM my partner's mother, Helen, called to say that Ted had fallen out of bed, she didn't think he was breathing, and she needed help. At 5:35 AM we arrived at their house and wove our way through two fire trucks, two police cars, and two ambulances. Ted was taken to East Cooper Regional Medical Center shortly after we arrived and was pronounced dead at about 6:15 AM. The cause of death was a heart attack.
Ted's health had been declining for a few weeks. He recently spent 13 days in the hospital, returning home on Friday, November 24th. Ted is survived by his wife, Helen Tyriw Pstrak, five children, and eight grandchildren. Ted was a former Navy Captain, having served for 10 commands with that rank. He joined the Navy in 1944 and was in active duty during World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He retired as Commander of the Charleston Naval Base in 1977, having been awarded numerous citations including a Bronze Star. A frugal man who grew up during the Great Depression, Ted was generous to a fault. He contributed to numerous charities and took great joy in leading the congregation at Christ Our King in Mount Pleasant, SC, in hymns.
This has been an extremely surreal day. I helped my partner and his family plan the funeral of their patriarch this morning, then this evening attended a wedding for the daughter of my partner's boss, whom he has known for 23 years (since she was 3). It struck me during the service that I heard The Lord's Prayer twice today: at shortly after 6:00 AM and again at shortly after 6:00 PM. I'm not a Catholic or even a Christian, and I'm having a hard time understanding the dichotomy of how this one piece can be used in two vastly different circumstances.
Ted, wherever you are, know that you are loved and will be missed tremendously.