Donald "Teddy" H. TedfordMarch 28, 1919 ~ September 20, 2017 (age 98)
Donald H. Tedford, (Teddy), 98 ½ , of Colchester Avenue, East Hampton, peacefully passed away surrounded by his loving family on September 20, 2017 at Middlesex Health Care Center Hospice in Middletown, CT. He was born in Hoboken, NJ, on March 28, 1919, the son of the late Esther Mae Carter Tedford and late Howard C. Tedford, and had resided in East Hampton for the past 67 years, having formerly lived in Bolton, CT and Long Island, NY. Don was a sergeant in the 3rd Engineer Corp of Patton’s 3rd Army Co. B in WWII, obtaining a campaign ribbon with three battle stars. Although mainly responsible for building and then destroying bridges, he suffered severe injuries to his legs when his buddy and he were clearing landmines in France in 1945. His buddy stepped on a landmine and died instantly, but Don spent almost 2 years in hospitals in France, England, and the US where experimental surgeries saved his legs, earning him a Purple Heart. Don was a world renowned Master Gunsmith who worked for Colt Manufacturing Co. in Hartford for 40 years where he was the head of the Custom Gun Shop. His work took him throughout the United States and many foreign countries. He especially enjoyed his years at the White House working with the Secret Service at their gun tournaments. Don trained FBI personnel in the repair and cleaning of their firearms. Don became well-known for his development of the “Tedford Action” trigger mechanism for national tournaments. To honor his long career, Colt created the commemorative, the “Don Tedford All American .357 Python”. There were 40 made, personally signed by Don on their barrel. Don received the Commission of Kentucky Colonel which is the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky Colonels are given by the governor and the secretary of state to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation. He enjoyed life to the fullest, having traveled to all of the United States, Canada, Europe, Central and South America. His passion was his family, and the New York Yankees, boxing and football which he played in high school. He played halfback for the semi-pro New York Corals football team in the late 1930s. He was an avid surf fisherman, racquetball player, boater, and gun enthusiast. He was a proud member of the East Hampton Veterans of Foreign War Post 5095, life member of the Marlborough American Legion Post 197, life member of the Disabled American Veterans, life member of the Middlesex YMCA, and a past member of the Hartford Surf Fishing Club. His ancestors came to America on the Mayflower; fought in the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, and taught his family the meaning of freedom and patriotism. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Ron Wallace of Cobalt; his son, Judd Tedford of East Hampton; grandchildren, Kim Wallace Anderson and her husband, Phil, of Colchester, and Randy Wallace and his wife, Kendra, of Manchester; two great-grandsons, whom he adored, Braden and Callen Wallace, also of Manchester. He is predeceased by his beloved wife of 62 years, Ruth Hortense (Tense) Tedford, who passed in 2003. The family wishes to thank all the staff and two special caretakers at Middlesex Health Care Center, N-2nd floor, Kathy and Daryl, who were extremely caring and helpful to our dad during his time in hospice. Family and friends are invited to attend calling hours on Tuesday, September 26 from 10:00 to 11:00 AM in the Spencer Funeral Home 112 Main St. East Hampton. Funeral services will begin at 11:00 AM. A military burial will follow at Lakeview Cemetery, East Hampton. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Don’s favorite charity: East Hampton VFW Post 5095, 20 North Maple Street, East Hampton, CT to benefit the many veterans in need. To leave online condolences please visit www.spencerfuneralhomeinc.com.