OBITUARY

Theodore Charles Biele

January 29, 1941October 26, 2020

On Monday, the 26th of October, 2020, we lost the loving, dark-humored father and husband Theodore Charles Biele. Of his wide array of ailments he so confidently donned like medals, it was the rampant and globally devastating Covid-19 that finally did him in. His family told him it was a cliché to catch the virus at this point, but he went ahead and did it anyway; he always had to have the last word. He said not to worry, that he only had “a touch of the virus,” but it turns out, it was indeed something to worry about. Just shy of 80 years old, he passed in the great care of AdventHealth Kissimmee. He resided in Kissimmee, Florida for the past 25 years with his wife, Josefina and his daughter, Jean Marie.

Ted (or Teddy as his family was so lucky to call him), was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn on January 29, 1941 to Irene Agnes and Dr. Frank Herbert Biele. He was their second child and son, and little brother to Frank, Jr. Even as a child, he was highly intelligent and excelled musically, playing the bassoon in his high school orchestra. St. Philip’s Episcopal Church was the center of his community where he was a choir and altar boy for many years. Always in search of understanding, with an ever-inquisitive mind, he went on to obtain a degree in Philosophy and Psychological Studies from Long Island University. While his mind was highly capable, it was accompanied by a lifetime of worry and doubt. He was once lovingly and beautifully described by a friend as “an unusually subtle and profoundly tormented philosopher-theologian.” In short, he was too smart for his own good and he often suffered for it.

Even still, with his sensitive mind and heart, he filled his life with great taste in music, books, art, food, and travel. There wasn’t a week that went by where he wasn’t having a philosophical or theological debate with his equally intelligent friends. He was a worldly man who passed on his teachings to his wife and daughter that they never took for granted (they even forgive him for relentlessly correcting their grammar.). As the main cook of the family, he made it a point to expand their palates by cooking meals from around the world. And based on the portion sizes, he often thought he was cooking for the world, too. Although his wife is the one from the Philippines, he made a pretty damned good chicken adobo that was always a fan favorite.

Throughout his life, he held civil service positions for the State of New York as a caseworker for both the Office of Mental Health and the Department of Labor. He was also a US postal worker, an apprentice mortician, and an English teacher. All throughout, he maintained his volunteership with the Episcopal church as both an acolyte and community outreach member. Most importantly, he always made it a point to travel. In 1985, he made the life-changing trip to the Philippines where he met his wife, Josefina. They went on to live together in Fort Montgomery, New York at his boyhood summer home overlooking the Hudson River Valley. In 1987, on a crisp fall New York morning, they welcomed a beautiful baby girl with a head full of wild black hair. They named her Jean Marie after his favorite aunts Jean and Marie. For him, she was the best thing he ever did in his life and he made sure she always knew it.

Ted passed the final part of his life in Central Florida which he initially loved, then despised, and then eventually resigned himself to the fact that he was never leaving. In that time, he truly honed his already dark sense of humor. His close friends and family knew he was either offensive or tear-inducingly hilarious; there was no inbetween. “If I embarrass you, tell your friends,” he loved telling his often annoyed daughter during her childhood. To those that truly understood him, he was kind as much as he was complicated. He was a dictionary, medical, history, and English book all rolled into one; he was a human Google, even though he barely knew how to use actual Google. He was sensitive, curious, at times pained, and sure as hell stubborn. He burned bridges along the way, but he always did what he thought was best. His wife and daughter thank him for the many years they were fortunate enough to spend with him. In a letter once to his daughter, he said, “Regardless of whether we’re separated by life or death, I’ll always be with you and love you until you pass on… and perhaps into infinity.” She’s holding him to that.

Per his wishes, there will be no fancy casket or funeral service. He said to his wife and daughter on more than one occasion, “just cremate me and put me in a cardboard box,” so that’s exactly what they’ll do. His ashes will be spread in his beloved New York where he will finally be home again. In lieu of spending your hard-earned cash on flowers, Ted would have much rather you made a donation to Shriners Hospitals for Children, Paralyzed Veterans of America, the ASPCA, or the reputable charity of your choice. Or to give back to the Earth, please plant a tree in his memory.

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Theodore Charles Biele

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Phyllis Glay

November 2, 2020

Ted and I worked together at the Department of Labor. We became very good friends. I feel very honored to have known him.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

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