A Tribute to a Great Man – Theodore “Ted” Duplessis
Our family sustained a great loss last week with the passing of my Father in Law. He was a great man and one that we will miss but never forget.
I was honored to be asked to do a Eulogy at his funeral.
The funeral was the most incredible one I have ever been at, a true celebration of his life.
The following is the Eulogy I did for my father in law Ted Duplessis.
Theodore “Ted” Duplessis
Knowing Ted I am sure you would agree he is looking down at us right now with that great big smile of his… most likely itching to be able to tell us about the great horse back riding adventure he just had through the pearly gates playing his latest song to impress St. Peter as he rode through.
First I would like to thank all of Ted’s recent care givers who helped out and watched over him the last few months. A special thanks to Adeline, Jody, Jennifer, Joanne, Amanda, Don & Jim as well as all his other friends and family who helped.
Father in Law…
As most of you would know I am Jennifer’s husband.
I was honored to have Ted as my father in law for the last 14 years… you simply could not ask for a better one.
However unlike most father in law son in law relationships ours did not start out in the typical way…
Most people these days when they are thinking about getting married move in with each other… but not me, I already knew Jennifer was perfect, but I was not so sure about this Ted guy…
… so I moved in with Ted!
In fact we were actually roommates for a time… which as you can imagine could be an interesting situation… dating his daughter and living in the same home as him… you would think with some men things could get a bit awkward… but not with Ted.
The most awkward thing that ever happened between us was that he sat me down and did his very best at trying to teach me how to play Row Row Row Your Little Boat on the guitar…
Now as most of you know Ted was an incredible guitar player… but when it came to teaching guitar, he was either lacking or I was Tone Deaf… because that Little Boat was Sinking Fast!
But the thing about Ted was that if he were here right now he was the type of guy that would have told you all how great I played that little tune; and he would have said it with a straight face… or maybe with a little smile in the corner of his mouth… because that was Ted, always kind, positive and upbeat to everyone. Now I suppose some might say that having a few inches of height on Ted might have helped!!
As a result of who he was Ted affected so many people in positive little ways just by being himself.
Everyone benefited in someway by being around and knowing Ted…
After Ted passed I read the following note written by his nephew Jamie Jenkins:
“One of my HERO’S once posted something on one of my photos a few years back: (Jamie is talking about Ted)
Ted Wrote : “Great photos Jamie you’re well traveled, (never stop dreaming because dreams do come true).”
Speaking of dreams… I am sure that most of Ted’s dreams involved music.
Guitar Playing & Singing Ted…
Ted loved music and music loved Ted.
And if you were one of the lucky ones who had a chance to witness his love and passion for music you know exactly what I am saying.
I’ve been told he started playing guitar with his brother Leroy as a young boy, and he never stopped playing the rest of his life.
Ted played his guitar and sang in countless venues around the world…
To include playing as the lead singer with the band the Drifter’s across New Brunswick to playing in Guesthouses and Inn’s in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico during his exotic travelling adventures … to playing weekly at The Market.. and most special of all to my friends and family was seeing him play yearly at our Summer Family get together.
Ted would arrive with his speakers, mic and guitar and of course sporting his latest cowboy hat and shined up boots; and sing and entertain us for hours.
I often wondered how Ted pulled off his striking cowboy look…
He had a passion for all things Western and In true Ted fashion he use to go to the used book store and buy and trade Louis L’Amour cowboy books weekly.
There is no question Louis L’Amour would be proud of Cowboy Ted…
Ted loved to spend time with his great friends Barb & Dan Nicholson at their hobby farm… where in exchange for helping out with Barn work he would receive riding lessons from Barb… and it was at this time that Ted was able to bond with his Soul Mate “IKE” the horse!
Man oh man did we hear a lot about that Horse… out of no where Ted would start into an IKE Story. He truly loved that horse.
Ted also recently was nominated as the “rider of the Month” for Atlantic Rider Association. An honor Ted was very proud of.
And of course when Ted was not riding horse back he could be seen riding on the back of his Harley.
A tribute posted to Ted online describes his love for horses:
“Cowboy Ted started riding horses again in his early 60’s, bringing back his old western memories from his years spent in Alberta and the riding he did there. After his first ride in New Brunswick on a big, tall Quarter Horse named Eclipse, he was so excited he went out and bought himself a new saddle!
Ted loved to sing and would often serenade his horse and fellow riders out on the trail. You could hear his deep voice echoing through the hills and trees, the nicest sound. He was happy on the back of a horse.
And Ted made others around him happy.
Two Christmas’s ago Jennifer, my kids and I were lucky to have Ted and Jen & Jody’s mother Joanne over for Christmas… We all have great memories of that Christmas.
It was a happy time and one we will cherish forever.
One of the things I will never forget about Ted was how generous he was… he would literally give you the shirt off his back and just about anything else he had…
Every time you visited Ted and I mean every time you visited he tried to give you something…
“I can hear him now “Ah Rob how is your golf game (Ted loved to golf)… I have this new club it could help… I think you should have it… or Ah Rob do you guys need a toaster, how about a coffee pot… here I have one here… what about a recliner can you fit it in your car?”
However the best thing Ted gave to anyone was himself… he was just one of those guys everyone enjoyed being around.
He was likable, kind, generous, caring, and loving.
And above all Ted loved his family.
Ted and his first wife Joanne who is also the mother of his two children Jody & Jennifer always remained close throughout Ted’s life.
They were friends right up until the end. Ted made it clear to Joanne and his girls that he wanted her present during the last few months. And She was.
Joanne I know it meant a lot to Ted and Jody & Jennifer that you were there helping, supporting and loving them and Ted during this time.
During his band playing years he met his 2nd bride Theresa at the Fredericton Legion.
Now if you listened to Ted tell the story, Theresa was the one who wooed him… I am not sure who did the wooing… but regardless they married and spent many great years together.
He devoted his time and love to her; and while she battled lung cancer Ted took a year off to care for her and to be with her. And I know Ted missed Theresa greatly when he lost her.
Grampy Ted was this motorcycle riding, guitar playing, cowboy super hero type of guy that any child would love to have as a Grampy.
All of them will carry very fond memories through out life of Grampy Ted… One of the memoires being of them being serenaded by him and his guitar to the latest song he wrote.
Ted has serenaded each of us at one time or another…
I can remember when we were roommates; he would ask me if I had a minute as he wanted me to listen to his newest song he was working on…
With Ted it made no difference whether it was an audience of 500 or an audience of 1, he would look you straight in the eye and give it all he had.
Now the true apple of Ted’s eye was his girls…
Jody & Jennifer!
They would all 3 have great fun together, whether going on Canoe Trips, Skiing Trips or just being around each other having fun laughing. Ted would play his guitar and sing and the girls would dance around and do their best to join in on the singing.
They were great dancers, but as for the singing… well… Ted sure seemed to love it though!
Jody & Jennifer he loved you both greatly and you were both incredible daughters to him, he was lucky to have you both.
So in closing….
As hard as it is for us to say good bye to Ted for now; I know from conversations with him over the past few months that he is now in a better place.
So even though this Cowboy has ridden off into the sunset I fully expect to and look forward to one day listening to Ted’s guitar and hearing his voice singing once again.
So… so long for now partner!