Theodore Meyer, Jr.

16 Jun 2020 | 02:38

Meyer, Jr, Theodore Roosevelt, 61, a big-hearted man, died on June 5, 2020, after a fall at his condominium in West Milford, New Jersey. The son of Theodore R. Meyer, Sr. and Emily B. Meyer (née Kohout), and brother of the late Joseph P. Meyer, Ted is survived by his sisters Marie Meyer (Raymundo Morado) and Emilie Oberstaedt (Mark), his niece Melissa, his nephews Matthew and Patrick, and his many cousins and dear friends.

A longtime resident of Clifton, N.J., Ted enjoyed much of his youth in the company of extended family, from scrubbing pans in Uncle Frank’s Kohout’s Bakery, to picking fruit at the family farm and, of course, playing games and sports with his siblings and cousins. While a parishioner of St Philip the Apostle R.C. Church, Ted joined Boy Scout Troop 121, where he attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He graduated Paul VI Regional High School in 1977 and earned a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1981. While at Stevens, Ted served as Vice President of Sigma Nu Fraternity.

For twelve years after college, Ted worked at Sier Bath Deck Gear Company in North Bergen, first as Sales Engineer and later as Product Manager. When Sier Bath closed in 1993, Ted joined Cupo Construction in West Caldwell, where he served the next twelve years as a carpenter in the residential remodeling business. Later, Ted worked as a maintenance worker at Krehel Automotive Repair in Clifton, until a disability forced him to stop working in 2013.

How Ted spent his “non-working” hours reveals so much more about the man some called “a gentle giant.” For most of his adult life, Ted cared for his father, and later his brother, both of whom had Huntington’s Disease, even while developing HD symptoms of his own. Often putting family ahead of himself, Ted good-naturedly balanced work, household chores, and caregiving day in and day out for nearly thirty years. Ted handled these tasks with cheerfulness and grace, never complaining or grumbling about the work.

Ted’s attention to others didn’t stop there. He was always happy to grab a shovel, an ax, or his vast collection of Craftsman tools when anyone needed help. Whether taking on a major project or selecting a small gift, Ted never cut corners. He put great care and thoughtfulness into everything he did, from choosing the perfect Christmas poinsettia to meticulously installing an Italian marble backsplash in his sister’s kitchen. Ted particularly enjoyed patiently teaching his many skills to others.

There were moments when some might not share Ted’s sense of “fun.” His loved ones marveled at Ted’s Outward Bound wilderness expedition, and some cringed at the bowl of crickets he ate on a family trip to Mexico. In the late 1980s, Ted taught himself to cook and was willing to try anything. He loved exploring the vast selection of ethnic grocery stores of northeast New Jersey, incorporating the cuisines of the world into his repertoire. He frequently came home after a long day of work to prepare delicious meals from scratch that he would serve to his father and brother at 9:00 p.m. Ted thought nothing of entertaining the entire extended family at a pig roast or clam bake. Those gatherings will long be remembered, even if few could stay awake for the full preparation of his legendary Thanksgiving turkey, which required hours to bone, stuff and an all-night vigil to smoke.

In 2015, Ted moved to West Milford, just a few miles away from his favorite place, the family farm. Though his sisters worried about him at first, it turned out to be a blessing. At Bald Eagle Commons, Ted made instant friends. He also joined The Almond Branch Church which became his second family and made him feel loved. Ted liked to get an early morning ride to church so that he could be among the first people there in order to greet others with his signature bear hugs as they arrived.

While the gifts he received from The Almond Branch are too numerous to count, an obvious highlight was their 2019 mission trip to New Life Children’s Home, an orphanage in Haiti. Ted cherished the memories of traveling with the group to Port-au-Prince, where he helped with finishing details on a house for missionaries. When they weren’t working, he also enjoyed the worship services, the social gatherings and the love and affection of the children. They were forced to cancel a planned trip to the beach, but he had fun playing with them on the slip and slide they brought down from New Jersey.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. If you wish to make a donation in Ted’s memory, kindly consider The Almond Branch Church & Resource Center in West Milford (https://www.awakenj.com/ ), New Life Children’s Home (https://newlife4kids.org/) or Huntington’s Disease Society of America (Huntington’s Disease Society of America).