On Monday, August 24, there were more tears on the docks of Port Townsend than the bay could possibly hold due to the passing of our beloved Ted Pike. Following a sudden illness, Edwin “Ted” Bertram Pike III passed on to other seas at the age of 65 (born January 25, 1950) surrounded by family and loved ones.
There are some lives that are impossible to sum up in words, and Ted’s is one of them. His reach was as vast as his love and zest for life. There is a giant “Ted” shaped hole in the hearts of thousands. I will try to honor our dear friend — the great ancient mariner, mentor, father, husband, friend and best hugger in the world — in all his glory.
Born in Berkeley, California to Edwin Bertram Pike, Jr. and Jane Parrish Pike, Ted was raised in Marin County and Lake Tahoe, California. Even as a young boy, his sisters remember how other children were drawn to Ted, gathering around him as he told stories, thus beginning a lifetime and legacy of being a great and grand storyteller to all he met. He had the unique ability of conveying experiences and tales with an almost childlike delight, yet layered into them great life lessons. Ted was the master of ceremonies for countless regattas over the years, the person to speak at funerals and memorials, a spokesmen for multiple companies, the person who could stand up in front of any amount of people in a situation that may be full of grief, or at great celebrations. He was THE person that could hold that space. This gift he had left an impact that spread through the many people Ted met in his lifetime.
Often Ted’s tales revealed his adventures throughout life. In the early years, Ted traveled throughout the U.S., Europe and Eastern Asia. He found himself in Australia for several years where his love and knowledge of surfing and sailing blossomed and grew. This is also where Ted’s skills and knowledge of boatbuilding became keenly developed and would change the course of his life. Ted was known within the maritime community to be one of the go-to guys for boatbuilding, always answering questions with great joy and knowledge. Each person who he gave words of wisdom to would receive a story to go along with this education, somehow connecting the information being given to a time in Ted’s life. It is truly amazing to think how many thousands of boats have a piece of Ted in them because of this.
Ted moved to Jefferson County, Washington in 1989 with his young family. This area is known for its wooden boats and wooden boatbuilding, and he was immediately home. Ted was a key part of many organizations, a mentor, a mediator, a problem solver and a leader. He actively participated in the Wooden Boat Foundation, Port Townsend Sailing Association, Marine Trades, Northwest Maritime Center, Jefferson County 4-H, Orcas Island Sailing and WoodenBoat Magazine. As an employee at Edensaw Woods, Ted traveled the country spreading his love and cheer everywhere he went and brought back more stories to share. He balanced his family, friendships, charter business and work in a way that allowed every person he was in contact with to feel as though they were the most important person at that moment, and indeed they were. And he needed to be busy with all he did — his zeal for life was too big for him to be involved in any part of it on a small scale.
Friendships were something that Ted excelled at. Everyone was a friend of his, and when you saw your friend, your face couldn’t help but grin as he greeted you with the most sincere “Ted” hug. His hugs could be the Webster Dictionary definition of “hugs,” I would guess that our dear Ted probably gave at least half a million hugs in his lifetime, and that’s on the conservative side. His generosity in spirit, his eagerness to hear how you were, and his encouragement were gifts he gave freely and humbly.
Ted, along with his beloved co-workers, Jim “Kiwi” Ferris (owner of Edensaw Woods), Jim Argites, and several others from the community had many wonderful weekly traditions and gatherings. One of the members of their “club” wrote the following day after Ted passed, and it seems most fitting to share his words in describing the friendship and camaraderie they shared.
Once a week there is a group of grown men that gather in an office to enjoy some wine and camaraderie together. They are of similar but different personalities in a meeting that has gone on weekly for years. A desk will hold a half dozen bottles of wine — red please, any style — as they share jokes, stories, and the trials and tribulations of life. They laugh without hesitation, poke fun at each other and push the envelope of fun. These are not hard men, but hard working men, with many experiences and are unafraid of living life with gusto and to the fullest.
This week they will gather, the wine will be on the desk, their faces will be a bit grimmer, there will be teary eyes, and their voices will crack with emotion. Yet through the teary eyes they will smile as they share stories of him. Ted Pike will be missing, he was Zinfandel man, occasionally a Malbec, he could unabashedly take the ribbing on the wine price tag and could tell a story through to the end while ignoring all sorts jabs to get him off track. Yes, he will be missing, and he will be missed, but he will be there in our hearts and stories as we look back at our times with him. He is one of us, we will miss him greatly but we will continue on and we will toast him, yes many times, and our memory of him will not fade. Tell us a story Ted, we’ll try not to interrupt! Here’s to Ted, calm seas and clear skies.”
Fred Kimball, August 25, 2015
Of all the boats that Ted sailed, there was one that was the nearest and dearest to his heart, his beloved Annie Too. A Lapworth 45-foot racing sloop designed by Bill Lapworth, Ted and his family purchased the vessel in 1994, and began a charter business that cruised throughout the Puget Sound. In her homeport of Port Townsend, Ted actively participated in the racing season. But what set Ted apart is that once again, all were welcome. If you had never sailed in your life, it didn’t matter, you were invited to come aboard and learn. From personal experience, I can say that Ted was the kindest and most encouraging captain I’ve ever had the honor to crew for. He would educate you, empower you, cheer you on, and if things got messed up (no matter how badly he wanted to beat that pesky Sparkle) he would have a smile on his face and say, “we’ll get them next time.” After each race, folks from all the other boats knew where the party would be. People would be sitting on the dock, the decks and every bit of that boat as Ted would retell stories — how he had almost won, what the plan was for the next week, tales of a wonderful race from 30 years ago, and educate each one of us through his great voice and twinkling eyes.
When Ted passed away, everyone who was touched by him was at a loss, grasping and grieving, wanting to in some way pay respect to Ted in that moment. His beloved Annie Too was out of the water at the time, as he was preparing her for the great Wooden Boat Festival. She was scheduled to be splashed two days later on a Wednesday. By Tuesday afternoon a plan was in motion, and word spread. The women of Port Townsend Sails spent Tuesday lovingly creating brightly colored flags to adorn the boat, other women appeared to clean the boat and decorate her, putting things back in their place, along with other friends coming to help in anyway they could. Then at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Ted’s loving wife Kate and dear son Adrian arrived along with approximately 300 other friends of Teds. We walked alongside the boat as she was taken to the dock and put back where she belonged, in the water. Everywhere you looked, tears streamed down the tanned faces of mariners, flowers were brought as offerings, and so many hugs were given that you could feel Ted smiling down. (Ashlyn Brown of PT Watercraft put together a wonderful video of the procession. You can click the link to view: Walking Annie Too – YouTube)
The crew and family took Annie Too out for a quick ride around the bay, where her other boat friends soon came out to bid their respects. They weren’t out long, but their racing rival Sparkle did let Annie Too win that day. Back at the dock, there were cheers and hugs when she returned. Rum was shared, laughter was had, but one voice was missing – the biggest of them all, more stories left untold, and all grieved the “Ted” shaped hole in our hearts.
Ted is survived by his wife Kate, sons Adrian, Roger and Chris, daughter Lanika, sisters Meredith and Judy, five grandchildren, niece and nephew, grand-niece and grand-nephew, and many cousins — all of whom he loved dearly and who will remember him so lovingly. He is also survived by his extended family, employer/friend, co-workers/friends, neighbors/friends, and boating community/friends all of whom have been so kind and generous to the family in their time of need.
A celebration of Ted will be held at the Northwest Maritime Center Sunday, October 11, 2015 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The scattering of ashes is expected earlier that day, weather permitting, and any accompanying boats are so very welcome to join.
Fair winds to our captain.