Leo Ted Howard Coneybeare

March 29, 1925January 16, 2012

“Long Live Polkaroo” LEO "TED" CONEYBEARE

Various… March 1925 – 16 January 2012

Leo — or Ted, his professional name — Coneybeare, was born in Essex County and maintained close ties to the region throughout his life, through his late sister Bernice and numerous nieces and nephews. Ted grew up on a farm in Essex County, graduating from Essex High School and London Normal School with an Elementary School Teacher's Certificate. Ted had an illustrious career in Education, first teaching in a rural one-room school and then in the Windsor Public Schools.

It was at this time that he began to use many audio-visual aids and incorporate arts and crafts into his curriculum. This was the beginning of his specialization in Art Education and Educational Television.

When he transferred to a new school in Windsor, he started to teach art and auditorium while also furthering his education through studies at: University of Western Ontario; Assumption College; Ontario Department of Education Summer Schools and Wayne State University. In 1952 he received his B.S. in Education with a major in Art Education from Wayne State University.

As Ontario's Assistant Superintendent of Pre-School Programming, Ted became world famous for his creation (development and production) of TV Ontario's first pre-school series "The Polka Dot Door”, which became the longest running series in TV Ontario's history inception. In 1972 the series won the Silver Medal for a children's program at the Atlanta Film Festival.

Over the years Ted continued as Educational Supervisor, Producer-Educator, and Producer, responsible for over 400 programs. After retirement in 1982, under contract he produced thirty more programs. The series has been telecast throughout Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, South Africa, and in some areas of the Middle and Far East. Spin-offs include: the "Polka Dot Door" stage show; a long playing record album (the cover of which shows Ted sporting the Polkaroo costume as it did not fit the model hired for the photo shoot); a parent's book, Through the Polka Dot Door; and "Polka Dot Door" toys, posters, and story books. He was responsible for the creation of two other series, "Guess What?" and "Tell Me a Story."

Ted’s enthusiasm for learning and teaching and his caring for others led him into unique experiences, new opportunities, and a variety of positions including Art Supervisor and Master Teacher. Over the years he taught a large variety of subjects to various populations of students at many levels including college. During these interesting and fruitful years he found time to do graduate work in the Art Education Department at Wayne State.

In 1968 he transferred from the Teacher Education Branch of the Ministry of Education to the Educational Television Branch, a young, beginning division. And, thus began a new and final direction at TVOntario in a renouned career.

In 1987, Ted was presented with the Art Education Arts Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to both Art Education and Educational Television.

In 2010 Ted was presented with the “Masterworks Honouree for The Polka Dot Door 1974-1993, Ted Coneybeare - Creator and Producer” by The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, 2010 Masterworks 25th Annual Gemini Awards.

Ted is predeceased by parents; Howard & Evelyn (Bloom) Coneybeare, sister Bernice (d.1994), brothers Keith (d.1987) and Verne (d.1996) as well as Ted’s true love, his life partner and eventual husband Raymond Snell (d. 2010) with whom he spent 42 years, only deciding enough was enough and finally marrying October 2007.

Ted is survived by sister-in-law Phyllis Coneybeare, nieces & nephews; Howard (& Jayne), Linda (& Alex), Jennifer (& Randy), James (& Tracey), Clare, Barbara, Randy (& Mary), and Bernice and each of their respective families as well as the late Raymond Snell’s family contingent in Winnipeg.

Special friends; Imla Roberts, Darlene Morris, Stan Coutes, Robert Preston, Raymond Gonsalves (d.2011), Harry Morton, Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes and so many others forgotten in haste.

Thanks to Dr Barry Merkley, Ronda Ellis and Nancy for their unparalleled medical support of Ted over the years – even more since 2005 through several Cancer surgeries and treatments – and many staff at Princess Margaret Hospital.

(ring, ring) “Helloooo, it’s 5 o’clock – the bar’s open! Did I tell you the joke about...?”

A Service of Remembrance will be held Friday April 27, 2012 at MCC Toronto, 115 Simpson Avenue at 2:00 p.m. Reception to follow.

Donations in lieu of flowers to MCC Toronto, Watercan/Eauvive, TVO, Operation Eyesight, or The Canadian Cancer Society - Ontario Division



Leo Ted Howard Coneybeare

have a memory or condolence to add?

Nancy Liss

January 21, 2012

To the family of Ted Coneybeare, my deepest condolences. Ted was a very dear, very special person in my life. Our friendship began with the writing of Polka Dot Door and continued over the years. He was a most remarkable man. Ted's contribution to children, whom he loved so dearly, will forever be his greatest legacy. It was a privilege to have known him.

Norbert von der Heidt

January 21, 2012

I was a TVO employee for a few years in the early 90's and worked on a few Polka Dot Doors, etc. I wish to offer my condolences to Ted's family and friends, he has left a great legacy that will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

Nav M

January 21, 2012

Thanks for the polka dot door Ted. We are so grateful for your creativity and talent you brought to this planet. - Nav Ontario/ Los Angeles.

Jed MacKay

January 21, 2012

Children never had a better friend than Ted. His contribution to the lives of generations of current Ontarians can hardly be overstated.

Victor and Loretta Einarson

January 19, 2012

Ted was a good friend for nearly 35 years and our association was particularly close during the 4 year period we lived in Toronto starting in 1986. He was creative, kind, generous, a good cook, a faithful friend who we shall miss.

Clare Renaud

January 18, 2012

My uncle had a full creative life. He was the last member of that wonderful family's generation. He will be missed! Clare Renaud