Ted Pence

Ted Pence

1942 - 2023

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Obituary of Ted Pence

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Long Obituary:

You can’t put yellow sticky notes on this electronic write-up, so we are using bullet points.  If you know you know.  So get out your cheaters, fill up your glass, and settle in.  Because this is a Ted Pence story:


  • Edwin Tully Pence (aka Ted, Teddy, E.T., Gump, Dad, Daddy, Papa, Grampa Ted, Papa Doc) was born in Muscatine Iowa on July 19, 1942.  He had two older siblings, John Richard, and Barbara Jo.  His mother, Kathryn W Crew, and father, Richard Tully Pence, moved some years later after opening a drug store in Mt. Vernon, IA. 


  • Ted was always a hard worker.  His first job was working in a bohemian bakery on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids.  He would get up at 2am and finish his shift before heading off to class for the day.  He graduated from Mt Vernon High School in 1960.  During his childhood years, he formed life-long friendships, and went on more adventures than can be recounted.  So please be sure to add your stories below.


  • He attended the University of Iowa from 1961-1966.  He was in the fraternity Pi Kappa Alpha, when he owned “Rocky” the infamous squirrel he and his frat brothers could always get tipsy, but only once per type of liquor.    He worked for Dick Brown at Hilltop DX as an attendant. And the only certificate he achieved at the University was one of marriage.  He married Conni Tudor in 1966.  To make ends meet, he took care of the fleet of vehicles at Jaydon Industries.  And at the same time, became a partner in a printing company, Diversified Enterprises.   That same year, Kathryn Patricia Pence (“Kraz”) was born.  She was his favorite.


  • Another daughter, Kandi M. Pence (“Sis”) was born in 1968.  She was his favorite.  He joined the U.S. Army Reserves to support the Vietnam War.   He also started Coralville’s first newspaper “The Coralville Courier.”  He moonlighted as a photographer for the county coroner.  He later became the President of the Coralville Chamber of Commerce and Vice President of the Iowa City Jaycees.  During the Army and newspaper years, he formed life-long friendships, and went on more adventures than can be recounted (so please be sure to add your stories below). 


  • Kelli Jo (“K.J.”) was born in 1973 (who was his favorite).  Shortly thereafter he, Conni, and the girls moved to an acreage just north of West Branch.  About the same time, in partnership with his father-in-law, Keith Tudor, he purchased the historic Hoover House.  His office was on the top floor.  On the main floor, Ted opened a french-style restaurant for which he was the chef.  He utilized the bottom floor as a cocktail lounge called ‘The Stone Cellar’ where food specials were a town favorite on Hawkeye Football game days.  He became the Vice President of the Iowa Restaurant Association. 


  • He joined the West Branch Country Club through questionable circumstances involving a tractor.  He kept that membership active for over 20 years. He was very involved, such as when he helped coordinate and attend the “Champagne Open,” always doing so while wearing his red and white checked suit jacket.  During the country club years, he formed life-long friendships, sported a 70’s ‘stache, and went on more adventures than can be recounted (so please be sure to add your stories below)                                                                                                                                                                                


  • In 1975 he had to return to the county dump to retrieve his daughter’s imaginary friend, Baby Dinosaur, whom he’d kindly tried to cure her of approximately 45 minutes earlier.  This led to 48 years of retelling the tale which grew in embellishments each time told.  He was redeemed when he found Midnight, Sis’s cat, 6 months after he’d disappeared, which is a different Ted Pence story. 
  • He and Conni divorced in 1977 shortly after he lost Kat temporarily at a Beach Boys concert, though there is no direct correlation. 
  • Ted married Judy Jenks (Sematon) in 1979 at a small ceremony in Sunset Beach, MO, near the Lake of the Ozarks.  At that moment, Matt David Jenks became his forever step son.                                            


  • Between 1977 and 2013 he created many interesting avenues of income.   In 1975, he became a part-time pig farmer, which became full time work, including crop farming, between 1977 and 1985.  During the farm crisis, he realized he needed a new profession and sometime during those years he became a sports bookie.   Kat was trained as a receptionist to correctly answer the secret phone line in the upstairs bedroom.  Kelli, however, wasn’t allowed to answer it.  It all came to a halt after an unsettling conversation occurred with law enforcement.  During the bookie years, he formed life-long friendships, and went on more adventures than can be recounted (but please do not add your stories below).                                                                                                                   
  • Luckily while all of that was going on, he also obtained his real estate license.  He started Harmony Real Estate in 1982.  Several years later, he opened a consignment shop in the back where he trained Kat as a receptionist to correctly answer the phone.  Somewhere in these years he became the President of the West Branch Chamber of Commerce.  He was a realtor until becoming a licensed real estate appraiser in 1991.  He delighted many with his appraisals provided within the somewhat malleable bounds of valuation rules.


  • By this time, he’d had several pets of notoriety:  Cats:  Punker, Midnight, Mother, Count (the 3-legged cat he rescued), Spider, Eenie the Meanie and Moe.  Dogs:  Pepper, Snoopy, Tassy, Rafferty, Cody, Porsche, Jack, and Dog. 


  • After he’d accumulated some funds, Ted upsized his boat, and he and Judy enjoyed many years together on the Mississippi with Jack always in attendance with his tennis ball..  During the boating years, he served up many bacon-wrapped olives, and cocktails.  He formed life-long friendships, and went on more adventures than can be recounted, so please share your stories below.


  • He and Judy divorced in (1993), much to the delight of his daughters.  After the divorce, he got a dog named, Newfie who became his best friend, and back seat traveling companion wherever he drove.  During his post-Judy bachelor years, he liked visiting Biloxi, MS with a regular group; going to see Roger Hanson in Cour d’Alene, ID; being the annual trip organizer for the Jimmy Buffet concert in Alpine Valley, WI; becoming a high-standing member of the Krewe of Brewe (a group involved in the Pensacola Beach Mardi Gras annual celebration).  And for a time, he was a member of the Benevolent and Protective order of the Elks Lodge 497, also in Pensacola Beach. 


  • He owned a cabin on the Cedar River which held large gatherings and was the source of many embellished (and accurate) stories of mayhem, mischief, and martinis.  Boating up and down the Cedar River took place often.  You could tell if he was up river, or down river, by the way the cement pelican on the deck was pointing its bill.  He and his friends often anchored at Carp Island where the tiki hut stood witness. 


  • He met Ella Mae Hess during his Pensacola years.  She became a permanent fixture for a time.  She, along with many community members helped Ted save his beloved Cedar River cabin after the Flood of 2008.  He and Ella kept their time split between Iowa and Pensacola.  During all of the Cedar River cabin and Pensacola years, he formed life-long friendships, and went on more adventures than can be recounted.  So please add your stories below.


  • He always made sure Christmas Day was at the farm.  He used his amazing culinary skills to create the annual Christmas Omelet, champagne punch, and clam chowder.  When he was feeling flush, he served a perfectly cooked prime rib with au jus and twice baked potatoes. One year, after a blizzard, the roads to town were closed on Christmas Day.  He took his tractor, and one by one transported each girl back to the farm for Christmas.  We don’t need to cover the sledding incidents.   Later, as a grandpa, he hosted Firefly parties, made sure the kids had warm towels fresh out of the dryer for those using the hot tub at the same family Christmas Day parties held for decades.  He supported sports, music, and anything else a grandkid could be interested in.  During his Grandpa Ted years, he formed life-long friendships, and went on more adventures than can be recounted.  So please add your stories below. 


  • He sold the farm and moved to Cedar Bluff around 2010.  Some years later, he and Ella parted as ongoing friends.  This was about the same time he had a couple smaller strokes, necessitating speech and physical therapy to overcome the small drag he’d acquired in his step. 


  • After retiring, Kat encouraged him to join the Doggy Underground Railroad becoming an animal rescue transporter taking the leg from Peoria to Waterloo, and anywhere in between.  Through this adventure he met hiss dog Stormy (another Newfoundland) and Ruby Sue, a sweet bull terrier mix that didn’t end up eating his liver as K.J. often predicted.


  • Ted was a lover of music and animals, something he shared with all of his girls. He always had a camera around his neck, a chainsaw in the back of the truck, a joke that took too long to tell, a harmonica velcro’d to the dash of his vehicle, Jimmy Buffet on repeat, a half-empty scotch bottle on his counter, and a dollar in his pocket if you needed it.  


  • About 6 years ago, he lost his golf swing.  After that, he lost his hearing, a few more dogs, a cat or two, and then he lost his ability to walk without a cane.  (He still did, of course).  His long-time friends began leaving the world.  For a time he was okay, but recently his dog, Doc, died, and that was very hard.  Soon after he decided he could no longer transport the rescue dogs, or care for another pet.  Getting older just wasn’t for him.  So Edwin Tully “E.T.” Pence of West Branch decided to leave on September 15, 2023. 


  • He is survived by his sister, Barbara Jo Conn (husband David), and daughters Kathryn Patricia (Curt Jett) Pence, Kandi M. (Sean) Baylor, and Kelli Jo (Tyler) Rozinek.  He was preceded in death by his brother and sister-in-law, John and Janene Pence (Fairfax, VA), and many beloved four-legged friends.   He is also survived by his sister’s children, Christine Thomas (Doug), Andy Conn (Lauren), and Elisa Jenkins (Tim), 7 grandchildren:  Kate Jett, Jazmin Goulding (Evan), Megan Jett, Alexis Knox, Aubrey Baylor, Jonah Baylor, and Samantha Jo Rozinek.  He has one great-grandchild, Aurora Goulding. 
  • There won’t be a funeral or memorial service at Ted’s request.  Instead, a large party will be held in his honor.  Place and date to be announced in the coming weeks. 
  • Please send any intended memorial donations in his honor to Last Hope Rescue 1823 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.
  • Teddy's Last Waltz", will be held October 27th at the Morse Community Club at 6:30.



Teddy's Last Waltz

6:30 pm
Friday, October 27, 2023
Morse Community Club
2542 Putnam St. NE
Iowa City, Iowa, United States

• There won’t be a funeral or memorial service at Ted’s request. Instead, a large party will be held in his honor. Place and date to be announced in the coming weeks.

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Ted Pence

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Ted Pence

1942 - 2023

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