At first glance, Ted comes across as an impressive, efficient, and cheerful fellow. He is the do-everything vice-president of strategy and special operations at Service Brands International, a franchising company based in Ann Arbor, Michigan; he is the unflappable household steward of our Ann Arbor-based formation house and student outreach center; and he even arranges the paper clips on his desk to near perfection.
The brothers in the house have dubbed Ted the “master of intelligent living.” This is because Ted will periodically point out the “intelligent” way to park the cars, or to pass the food, or to record financial transactions, etc. It’s not clear to me that all of the brothers actually adopt these intelligent ways of living and acting, but those who know him are struck with Ted’s wisdom and knowledge. He is an engineer to the core.
But when you get to know Ted better, all these things at the surface are deepened by his love for God and his desire to take all his gifts and put them at the generous service of others. Ted enjoys mentoring younger men and passing along practical skills in living The Servants of the Word life well. He is constantly going here and there in the evening to help someone in need, often to sort out a computer problem. He loves to be of service to people. He is also known in our circles for being a gifted worship-songwriter and musician.
Moreover, Ted has also been a model for all of us in care for his family. Since the death of his father some years ago, Ted has been impressively steady in care for his mother. But he also looks out actively for his brothers and sisters, and shows special concern for his nieces and nephews. I can testify that their spiritual and material welfare is constantly in his prayers and thoughts.
Some years back he started a small check-printing company for the sole purpose of having a vehicle for teaching his nieces and nephews how to work in a real business. The company is doing quite well, actually, but more important to Ted are the beneficial effects on his younger family members.
Ted doesn’t give many talks and lectures, but when he does speak the impact is significant. He likes to call the younger brothers onwards and upwards, to give everything they have, to hold nothing back, to “make it all count” for Jesus Christ. What makes these simple words so powerful is that Ted lives them so deeply and simply. He is a man of many outstanding gifts, yet he carries them humbly and delights in seeing them used for the Lord and others. And at the venerable age of 60 he is still going strong.
As I prepare to move to another household, I look back with great gratitude for the years of living and serving side-by-side with Ted Kennedy. He is not only a master of intelligent living; he is a true-hearted servant of Christ and a great brother.
This article is from our 2011 Easter Servants of the Word Newsletter [1.1MB PDF].