Ted Sorensen

March 14, 1941December 21, 2012
Play Tribute Movie

Theodore (Ted) Stanley Sorensen

March 14, 1941 – December 21, 2012

Ted died on the ski slopes of Squaw Valley Ski Area doing what he loved on Friday, December 21, 2012. It was to be just another one of his frequent day trips from his home in Auburn, California. Although Ted was an expert skier, ski instructor and ski racer, something went drastically wrong during this last run on KT-22 . He will be fondly remembered as a person with a zest and passion for life, who brought joy and fun into the lives of the numerous family and friends who loved and admired him.

Ted was born to Adelia (Dee) Lillian Sorensen (nee Lampe} and William (Bill) Digman Sorensen in Santa Cruz, California, and was raised in the Oakland, California hills with his older brother, Lloyd, and younger sister, Christina (Tina). After graduation from Oakland Technical High School with his class of January 1959, he studied at Oakland City College before enlisting in the U. S. Coast Guard in 1961. After his years of military service, he joined the Fire Department at the Lawrence Livermore Lab in 1965.

Four years later, he married Dona Marie Brakebush, a marriage that would last until Ted’s death. Also In 1969, he transferred to the San Jose, California Fire Department, beginning thirty years of exceptional and rewarding service as a Fire Engineer.

With the arrival of their two sons, in 1970 and 1972, respectively, Ted and Dona set about raising a family, which they did admirably. Ted loved his family and took great pride in all of them—wife Dona, sons Jeff and Derek, daughter-in-law Cindy, and grandsons, Luke and Jack. Ted was delighted that his sons and grandsons shared his passion for skiing, and he took great pride in helping all of them develop into exceptional skiers.

Ted inherited his excellent mechanical abilities and inventiveness from his father, who was raised on a farm before becoming a skilled mechanic. Ted built a fast inboard speedboat in 1960, which is still in the family. For many years on his off days he did residential remodels, and also built his family home in the San Jose hills. After retirement from the fire department he supervised the construction of a new family home in Auburn. He was an inveterate “tinkerer” always building or improving something. In addition to his lifelong passion for skiing, Ted planted Syrah wine grapes on the Auburn property, and dived into wine making, under the guidance of the local vintners. Ted enjoyed wine making and his friends and family enjoyed the fruits of his labors. Ted also enjoyed his association with the Elks Lodge in Auburn, where he and his buddies cooked tacos for Taco Team One.

In addition to his widow, sons, daughter-in law, grandsons, brother and sister, Ted is survived by numerous in-laws, nieces, nephews and friends. Ted enriched the lives of all of them in ways that they will remember always. He will be greatly missed.


  • Celebration of Life Friday, January 11, 2013

Ted Sorensen

have a memory or condolence to add?


receive updates when new memories are posted


January 12, 2013

Ted's brother was a good friend of mine. Ted went to Oakland to fight the fire that burned down a house I used to live in. Ted led a wonderful life.

Dave Svendsgaard

Don Lee

January 8, 2013

I met Ted in the Coast Guard in the early sixties and then worked with him on the San Jose fire department for many years.... I will always remember and miss his big smile.

Peter Reedy

January 6, 2013

Skied from Australia to Canada and many places in between with Ted. He was a great friend, companion and always had a great smile and a good word. He will be missed by myself very much. Pete Reedy, St. Maries, Idaho

Dee & Sean Iraca

January 5, 2013

Derek and family, We are so sad to hear of your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family as you endure this difficult time.

Cat Berman

January 4, 2013

Sending the Sorensen family our love and warm wishes. Derek, you are in our thoughts.

Samuel Garcia

December 31, 2012

Ted worked as my engineer at station 4 for 15 years...I will always remember the laughs and good times we shared.

December 28, 2012

Ted and I both became firemen together in 1965 at the Lawrence Rad Lab. He ended up in the San Jose Fire Dept and I in San Francisco. We used to run into each other at Squaw over the years. Great sense of humor, and just fun to be around. Best regards to his family.
Tom Lovely...Tahoe City, CA.

Dave and Karen Cormia

December 27, 2012

Ted was the happiest when he was skiing. We would not be skiing today if it wasn't for his great advice and enthusiasm. We will miss you dear friend.

Tom Gianatasio

December 27, 2012

I knew Ted for over 40 years. I worked with him at old station 4 back in the day. We did some projects together and when he started to slow down to do other things, had his friends call me for their building projects. Tons of energy, always moving, that's why he was so thin. Great firefighter. That crew back in the day was top notch. They took care of business. Will miss him. I find this quite sad as I had not had much contact from when he left the area and out of the blue I got an email from him about a week and a half ago. Peace Brother. Peace to your family.

Jarod MIddleton

December 27, 2012

I worked with Ted when I was a new Firefighter on Truck 4. He was a great guy and a great Fire Engineer. I'll never forget him. Rest in peace Ted.