Theodore Flood, “Ted” was born on October 6, 1930, on the Southside of Chicago. He was the second of four children born to the late, Elizabeth and Theodore Flood, who were totally unaware that they had produced a one-of-a-kind son, never to be duplicated. At the time, incorrigible was the word his father used. He was strong-willed and found himself in frequent conflict with his father who practiced corporal punishment, and a warm loving mother. His father believed the world was tough, so he was preparing him for life. Despite this, his parents and his siblings all had close relationships. In high school, he regularly had to hand over his lunch money at knife point. Born in the Depression era, he worked nights in his uncle’s bakery, and at the age of 17, went to work full time as a mechanics helper.
Work was interrupted by a request from Uncle Sam to join the Army for two years. Initially assigned to tanks at Ft. Hood Texas, his commanding officer told him he liked to put a square person into a round hole and round into square, thus he assigned him to the mess hall. Prior to discharge, he was awarded a Certificate of Achievement by his Commanding Officer, who cited his superior performance “…His leadership and organizational abilities resulted in the operation of a mess hall repeatedly cited as Superior. By his imagination, attention to duty and self-sacrificing spirit, he contributed substantially to the morale and efficiency of his company, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself, his unit, and the military service.” In addition, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant two months before discharge, and even though on several occasion he was on orders to ship out to Korea, he was always pulled as essential personnel. At the age of 22, these stated characteristics in a job he really did not want, were the backbone of his many accomplishments in a life well lived, on his own self-made plans, which were aided by a keen intellect, a mathematical brain, a genuine love of people, a keen sense of humor, and the art of delegating.
Ted was employed in four New York Stock Exchange Companies in the field of trucks, solid waste management, and recycling: International Harvester Corporation, from mechanic helper to a successful Branch Manager; President Peabody Solid Waste Management (E-Z Pack Division), Peabody Galion Corporation, Corporate Vice President; Browning, Ferris Industries in Houston, Vice President of Marketing; Waste Technology Corporation and its subsidiaries, CEO and Chairman of the Board. He joined local and national organizations that furthered the success of the company and himself always rising to top leadership roles, at the same time honing his golf game as he traveled.
Newspaper clippings indicate that Ted not only worked tireless for his employer, but also for the community. He was elected a Councilman, Chairman of the American Red Cross Drive, outstanding leadership American Red Cross a member of the Rotary Club International, member of the Elks, Lions, Chamber of Commerce local and for State of Illinois. He was also President of the Baymeadows Condominium Association for 5 years, elected Republican Committee representative; became a Mason and a Shriner in the shortest period at that time recorded and although not active, paid his dues for 52 years to Columbus Mason Lodge and Shriners locally and supported the Shriners Children Hospital. In Jacksonville, he volunteered many hours with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Reserve with all the credentials of an JSO officer including undercover work, and a number of those years as the Commander, retiring after 22 years. At the same time, he ran his own business, switched from a six-handicap golfer to an A team tennis player, and became an avid gun collector, licensed gun dealer, and sharpshooter good enough to be accepted at the national Banchi Cups, where he did well. He also was a member of the local American Legion.
Leadership roles in the industry, led him to win numerous awards, represented the industry in testimony before Congress, recruited members for the Association, and actively participated in the key work of developing industry standards for balers and refuse equipment, testify in Congress on recycling, lectured at University of Illinois engineering, Newark of College Engineers, and others. He was a Trustee of the Environmental Industry Association (EIA), an international organization where he was the treasurer/secretary and became the first Chairman from the equipment manufacturing sector and later becoming the first living Emeritus member. He was also on the Board of governors of WESTEC a division of EIA. He was elected to the EIA Hall of Fame in 1996. Ted was also well known for his Floodism comments.
Prior to retirement, he developed Macular Degeneration in both eyes, a progressive eye disease. While he hated it, he approached it to win learning how to type and use a computer, accepted a position on the Board of Republic Financial Corporation, based in Denver, CO, formed an LLC, and consulted for the next six year after retirement for a wonderful caring company, who were very successful, but also had a philanthropic approach to life. As a bonus, his grandson played professional lacrosse for Denver, enabling him to attend some games. While on the Board, the Owner, Jim Possehl, presented him the SPIRIT Award especially for him for “his outstanding drive, spirit, and pursuit of excellence.”
Ted’s hobbies were many. For years he was an avid boater, and an outstanding helmsman. Many fun times were had at Epping Forest Yacht Club Power boat Club where he served as Fleet Captain, and remained a member. He played tennis and some golf until he could not see the balls. Ted was a Charter Club seats member of the Jaguars for 24 years, right at the 50-yard line. He was a member of the La Chiene de Rosetire: elevate fine dining with interesting people. As his eyesight deteriorated, he was restricted to riding his bike and working out at the Sawgrass gym, which he did daily with his many friends and staff so much so that there was a “Ted’s Corner”. He continued his gun hobby with his longtime friend Steve Merritt.
After the loss of his wife in a tragic boating accident, his future mate, Bobbie, was introduced to him by the bartender, Ron, at Sawgrass Country Club, where they both were members. Even though his friend, Dr. Pat Kamish, called later and left Bobbie a message that Ted was incorrigible, she did not run, and they had 29 great years traveling the world and the United States, which they both loved. He never met a stranger and he loved negotiating deals one of the best being exchanging an ordinary ship’s cabin to one of two suites for a mere $300 on a luxury ship down the Nile. Further, he had Hors D’ Oeuvres platters delivered, boat guests provided alcohol, and by 6 pm everyone was having a delightful time. Many such memorable trips were taken.
Ted passed away on June 9, 2023, and a private burial was held. Surviving family members are daughter, Linda (Rob); son, Jeffery (Julie); step-son, Marty (Sandra); seven grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; sister-in-law, Swannee; and nieces, Sheryl and Donna. Special thanks to his friend, Ron Heller, who visited him every day in the hospital; all his concerned friends; Dr. Tan with the VA; and all the people there who provided excellent service from 1996, when his eye problems began.
In closing his life, a message sent by a friend is offered: “Please accept my deepest condolence regarding my friend, Ted Flood. He was a dear friend to many of the officers at JSO. I was always proud to count myself among them. I pray God to bless the family with many fond memories. His passing reminds me of a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful. To be honorable be compassionate and to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. I know my friend Ted lived well and touched many lives. God Bless, John (Rutherford).”
When the Awards were handed out at the Industry Conventions, they played a song sung by Tina Turner. Simply The Best. The Chorus lyrics are:
Simply the best, better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone I ever met.
Those words apply to Ted Flood and the life he lived.
Any donations in his honor are requested to: Shriners Children Hospital Corporate Headquarters, 2900 N. Rocky Point Dr., Tampa, FL 33607.
On October 7, 2023, 1:30 pm, a Celebration of Life is planned at Sawgrass Country Club for family and friends. Please RSVP via text to (904)742-7604. Casual attire is recommended. The family is requesting guests to bring videos, pictures, and happy memories to share.