Ted (Theodore Jude) Gannon passed away in his sleep in the morning hours of Dec. 21, 2019. Born March 20, 1936, near Butte, Montana, Ted grew up in Anaconda and spent many summers with his uncle on a family farm.
Ted’s vocations were varied. After Seattle Prep and the University of Washington seeded his vast knowledge of science and philosophy, and mathematics in particular, he occupied a desk at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, among many mathematicians all armed with slide rulers solving math problems. He was a math analyst at Seattle’s Boeing for a time before he left these corporate indoor jobs to spend a month contemplating his life beside Lake Killarney in Ireland. When he returned to the United States, he climbed mountains and picked apples in Wenatchee.
When the Peace Corps was first organized he was sent to a remote village in Nepal in 1963. Throughout his life he kept in touch with his Nepalese families, supporting them on his meager income, saving virtually nothing for himself. He returned regularly to that country until physically unable. His love of Nepal permeated all facets of Ted’s philosophy, essentially to forge connections and end conflict and violence within all relationships.
Ted’s love of mountaineering far exceeded any other activity in his life. Having learned from such greats as Pete Shoening, Ted climbed Denali five times, summiting once. For many years he worked in Talkeetna, Alaska, helping to organize climbers headed up Denali. When he was younger he’d been in Alaska with the Army in Artillery, and later worked there as a logger in the woods as a choker setter.
He and his partner Carolyn MacKay lived for years in the Methow Valley, starting in the 1970s. He was an avid mountaineer in the North Cascades with the Methow as his base. He climbed Mount Si numerous times with friends and Mt. Rainier was a favorite.
In between climbs he picked apples, and could be found on weekends dancing with abandon at the Antlers Tavern in Twisp to Dixieland music played by the Hottell Ragtime Jazz Band.
Ted was a generous and kind man who loved to question his friends about their life’s choices. As his cognition slowly declined from dementia, his caring nature shined through even more brightly.
A gathering of Ted’s friends will be held in the spring as soon as they can cast his ashes in the mountains he loved so much.