Howard "Ted" Bair

September 16, 1942February 20, 2020

Howard "Ted" Bair, 77, son of the late Howard "Cub" Bair and Elizabeth "Betty" Falls, was born on September 16, 1942, in Des Moines, Iowa. He passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly on February 20, 2020, of a heart attack. Ted was raised in Mason City, Iowa, with his two sisters, Anne (Gary) Wilcox of Mission Viejo, CA, and Molly (Mark) Williams of Cedar Rapids, IA. He later attended the University of Iowa, where he was a letter winner on the Hawkeye golf team. At the U of I he also cultivated his passion for watching and cheering for Hawkeye sports, particularly Football and Basketball. We have many wonderful memories of Saturdays spent at Kinnick Stadium as a family and later watching Hawkeye football games on TV together. At the University of Iowa Ted met Nancy Peters, who he married, and together they raised their three children in Mason City, Iowa: Whitney (Marc) Molis of Urbandale, IA, Alex (Amy) Bair of Urbandale, IA, and Carter (Kelli) Bair of Victor, NY. They later divorced, but Ted felt fortunate to again find love later in life, with Karen Levis, and he and Karen enjoyed many adventures together including a cruise to Southeast Asia last winter.

Ted started out selling life insurance for John Hancock in Des Moines. In 1973 his father unexpectedly passed away and Ted bought his father’s beer distributorship, Blue Ribbon Inc., and grew the company ten-fold. He later sold the distributorship and briefly worked in investment trading. Ted had an interest in helping people, so he went back to school to become certified as a substance abuse counselor and worked at Prairie Ridge Addiction Treatment Center. Ted subsequently returned to the business world as the Small Business Development Center director at NIACC in Mason City. He moved to Urbandale, Iowa, in 2014 to be closer to his children and grandchildren. He took a job as the Interim State Director and later Regional Director of Small Business Development at Iowa State. Ted briefly retired in 2017, but was back to working at Iowa State at least 3 days a week at the time of his death.

But the most important thing in Ted’s life was family. Ted loved attending his grandchildren’s activities and he will be missed every day by his 7 grandchildren: Kaitlyn (15), Courtney (12), Ashley (11), Preston (11), Elliott (10), Palmer (2), and Hayden (4 months). His children will miss his advice, support, and conversations. Ted was a wonderful conversationalist, and when you talked with him you always had his full attention. He would notice and appreciate even the small details of a meal, a sporting event, or a music program. He loved travel, golf, fishing in Canada, and playing Fantasy Football. We will miss having him in our everyday lives so much.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Iowa State University Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.

Visitation will be at Lutheran Church of Hope, West Des Moines, from 10 to 11 a.m. on Thursday, February 27, 2020, followed by a Celebration of Life Service at 11 a.m. at Lutheran Church of Hope. Luncheon to follow at Hope.


  • Celebration of Life Thursday, February 27, 2020


Howard "Ted" Bair

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Deadra Stanton

February 24, 2020

Alex, Whitney, and Carter and your family. I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a father leaves a sense of sadness that is unique and different. Anytime you walked into room with Ted you knew he was there....he was larger than life. The Stanton family sends our thoughts and prayers.

Mike Miller

February 23, 2020

It was great knowing you all the way from M C Juco basketball memories to video taping your daughters wedding. May you RIP.

Jamie Zanios

February 23, 2020

Ted, my dear friend. I first met Ted and his family when I lived on fourth street in Mason City and he lived just up the block, I was about 5. So to say we have known each other a long time, is really true. We were at Iowa at the same time, though he was a senior when I was a freshman. After we had gone our ways, we reconnected when I moved back to Mason City from NYC, and the friendship was taken to a completely different level. We enjoyed many trips working on the Mercy board together, where we hatched the idea and formed funded Century Wines Ltd. and later worked together at NIACC John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center for over 10 years. What a glorious life Ted led and how fortunate I was to have been part of his life and his circle of friends. He would do anything for his friends and I think he found his true passion with his consulting both individuals and businesses. While we didn’t see each other as often as we would have liked when he moved to Des Moines, and I retired spending more time in Florida, it was always like we had been apart only a few days when we saw each other again. He would give me that big Ted Bair hug and we could talk for hours. Miss you Ted!! To his family and Karen I say, “May his memory be eternal!” It sure will be for me. Til we meet again, Ted. Love you brother!

Amy Kuhlers

February 23, 2020

I am so very sorry to hear of Ted's passing. He was a great colleague and a wonderful man with a fun sense of humor. Rest in peace Ted, you will be missed.