Obituary for Major Theodore Paul Lingenfelter
December 7, 1932 – January 29, 2021
The family and friends of Major Theodore Paul Lingenfelter, U.S.M.C, of Grass Valley, California, celebrate his life and commemorate his passing at the age of 88. This larger-than-life figure, who survived combat in Korea and Vietnam, died peacefully on January 29, 2021, with his loving wife of 68 years, Mary Lou (Allen) Lingenfelter, at his side.
He will be remembered as a quintessential man of honor—a patriot and man of action who loved his family, his country, and the Marines. Ted was a caring and loyal husband, a devoted father, grandfather, and uncle, an amazing and unselfish listener and counselor, a poet and storyteller, an avid reader, a Star Trek fan, a great teacher, a wonderful conversationalist, and a successful executive. His word, always carefully considered, was his bond.
Ted Lingenfelter was born in Johnstown Pennsylvania on December 7, 1932, to Lowell and Marie Lingenfelter. He attended Mt Diablo High School in Concord California. Ted was proud to be the last surviving sibling of a large nuclear family that produced remarkably successful individuals—Marion, Dot, Jim, Sarah, Ruth, Helen, Dick, Janice, Nancy, and Stan.
Ted enlisted in the Marines at the age of eighteen. Early in his career, he experienced the rare honor of becoming a “Mustang”—an enlisted serviceman or women who is commissioned as an officer as a result of extraordinary merit. He served in combat in Korea, where he was wounded in battle, and did two tours of duty in Vietnam during which he supervised the Corp’s air traffic control system, which he helped to design. He was twice stationed in Japan where he served as an air traffic controller. In October, 1962, Ted served aboard a Navy ship that was part of the armada that blockaded Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, an action that prevented the shipping of Soviet missiles to that island nation and helped avert nuclear war.
As consequential as it was to become a Marine, the most important decision Ted made in his eighteenth year was to marry his vivacious high school sweetheart, Mary Lou Allen, of Concord, California, a woman of enormous energy, wisdom, and inner strength. He took joy in every moment of her presence and in their lifelong mutual respect and cherishment. Ted and Mary Lou raised four wonderful children while navigating the stresses and adversities of military life: Linda Chase, Ted Paul Lingenfelter Jr, Stewart Lingenfelter, and Paula Biela. Ted leaves behind eleven grandchildren; Eric Robert Chase, Kristin Nichole Torres, Sarah Ruth Gresham, Shane Paul Lingenfelter, Kyle Allen Lingenfelter, Corine Ann Lingenfelter, Casey Alan Lingenfelter, Daniel James Lingenfelter, Heather Lynn, Matthew Scot Biela and Nicole. He is also survived by thirteen great grandchildren: Callen Chase Gresham, Eisley Ryan Gresham, Alexandria Rose Torres, Stevie James Chase, Bradey Paul Lingenfelter, Caleb William Lingenfelter, Lily Elise Lingenfelter, Austin Douglas Lingenfelter, Jeremy Daniel Lingenfelter, Jordan Lynn Lingenfelter, Aiden Alexander Biela, and Javan.
Ted’s chivalry and kindness will live on in hearts of all who knew and loved him. He will be interred at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery in Dixon, Solano County, California. Those wishing to honor the memory and service of Major Theodore Lingenfelter and the sacrifices and participation of his family, are encouraged to donate to the Marine Corp Veteran’s Association. Semper Fi.
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