Theodore “Ted” George Creedon, 74, of Rivergrove, Oregon, died peacefully on July 24, 2017 in his home with his family by his side. Cause of death was complications from Parkinson's and cancer. The funeral was held at Resurrection Catholic Parish in Tualatin on July 29, followed by interment in Canby at Zion Memorial Park Cemetery.
Ted, called “Teddy” and “Tedinko” as a boy, was born in Little Falls, New York on February 12, 1943 to Olga Vrabel Creedon. His father, Theodore J. Creedon, was away at World War II in Iceland, meeting his son for the first time on his return to the US in 1946 when Ted was nearly 4. Dad’s grandparents were immigrants from Czechoslovakia and Ireland, heritage he treasured.
Growing up, Ted’s enjoyed camping and canoeing each summer with his family at Piseco Lake in the Adirondacks. His father taught him to ski from an early age, and he grew up playing ice hockey with neighborhood friends, two sports he was passionate about throughout life. He was a Life Scout in Boy Scouts, the rank just under Eagle Scout, and was skilled in many outdoor pursuits from tying knots to mountaineering.
As a boy, he loved to watch his Grandpa George Vrabel, a machinist at Cheney Hammer, tinker in his basement workshop filled with woodworking power tools he had fashioned himself of vacuum cleaner motors and rough metal. George invented a jig that could make two hammers at once; it was patented by the company owner. Dad’s time watching his grandpa surely inspired him on his path, complementing his natural ability to take things apart and put them back together. Ted knew he wanted to become an engineer in seventh grade, spending his free time with erector sets, chemistry sets and his Lionel train.
After graduating at 17 from St. Mary’s Academy in Little Falls, he was accepted to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY where he was a member of the first graduating class in Engineering Science in 1964. He went on to graduate school working under renowned retired GE engineer Philip Alger. His Master’s thesis addressed computerized variable speed motor controls for induction motors. His first job was at GE headquarters in Schenectady, NY, starting work 50 years to the day after his mentor Alger had arrived at GE by horse and buggy.
A computer pioneer, Ted was skilled in both the design and building of computers and how to program them in languages from Fortran to Linux. Ted acquired several patents over his lifetime for computerized machinery. He was proud to be only one generation removed from the start of electrical engineering. In his words, “One guy, Professor Alger, was between me and the very first electrical engineers that ever lived — Steinmetz and Tesla and Edison.” Ted designed, patented and prototyped a high-speed wafer probe that rapidly tested integrated circuits to keep up with the ballooning demand for microelectronics in the 1980’s through his startup Kestrel Technologies. He continued to study the latest in computer engineering through his final month of life, working on a supercomputer project in his shop.
During the Vietnam war, Ted received a deferment to work as a government contractor for General Electric on the island of Shemya in Alaska, working on computerized radar systems used to monitor Russian spy ships. It was on a visit to the dentist in Anchorage that he met the love of his life, Doris Andrus, a dental hygienist hailing from Canby, Oregon. They married September 30, 1967, started a family and built a house in Anchorage in 1968. Ted and Doris had four children, all born in Anchorage.
After a time working for the Army Corps of Engineers, Ted founded Theodore G. Creedon Engineering, with Doris managing client relations, from their Anchorage basement in 1970. With the oil pipeline boom, they managed a steady stream of electrical and mechanical design projects, completing hundreds of projects across Alaska, and especially on the North Slope, above the Arctic Circle. Ted and Doris’s community was full of other young entrepreneurs and professionals making the most out of the boom years.
In 1979, the family relocated to Rivergrove, Oregon, where they designed and built the house on Childs Road that is still the family home. Ted served as Mayor of Rivergrove for three years, worked with the Department of Environmental Quality to clean up the Tualatin River, and helped engineer the water system for the city park. Ted and his wife Doris hosted City Council meetings at their home for three years.
Ted was known for his brilliant mind, love of the outdoors and devotion to his children and grandchildren. He passionately encouraged curiosity and working with your hands, giving him a special connection with each of his kids and grandkids. A true renaissance man and autodidact, Ted was just as able to rebuild a ‘76 Chevy engine as to expertly split wood or cook escargots. He died feeling he still had so much more to teach others.
Ted prayed the rosary daily, and his deep Catholic faith was a great comfort, especially in his last month. He’ll be remembered for his fierce independent streak, love of books and history, and pride in his own accomplishments and those of his family. His family will never forget his incredible laugh, his detailed instructions on how to do something the right way, his keen observations on the world, and his passion for living.
He is preceded in death by his parents Olga V. Creedon and Theodore J. Creedon, and his sister Kathy Creedon and brother Dennis Creedon. He is survived by his wife, Doris, his daughters Jill, Erin and Sarah, his son Michael, and six grandchildren.
Written by Sarah Creedon Nassif
August 1, 2017
Lake Oswego, Oregon