Theodore “Ted” Joseph Ryan was born and raised in Connecticut and grew up with his one brother, Dave. Ted has lived in various places in the US, including Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, Connecticut and California.
In addition to living in numerous locations across the country, Ted has had many careers. He served in the National Guard and military for approximately 9 years, worked as a Ford mechanic for 32 years and also in law enforcement. Once Ted retired, he began his own business restoring old cars, golf carts and most anything else.
“My greatest pleasure is cars,” he said with a big smile, “Cars and eagles.”
With approximately 180 model cars, Ted has owned all cars with the exception of one: a Ferrari. He has his model cars in cases that he has handmade himself. They have a wooden base platform with a fiberglass casing that sits in the grooves on the wood. These cases help protect the cars from dust and other threats that could be harmful to the collectibles.
When Ted first heard of Advent Christian Village from a Presbyterian minister in Quitman, Georgia, he decided to call and schedule a tour.
“I looked outside of the apartment and could see the Suwannee River,” Ted remembered, “and I was sold.”
After the tour, Ted filled out and submitted his application. He was soon accepted and moved in to Dowling House.
During Ted’s first stay at ACV, he and Dick Grillo began building toys for underprivileged children in Watkins Hobby Shop. He recalls building 15 doll cribs for these children. This tradition commonly known as the Christmas Toy Project has been undertaken for nearly 10 years, with many people volunteering to build toys to donate to Sparky’s Kids at the Live Oak Fire Department. From there, the toys are given to children who may not otherwise receive a gift for Christmas.
Ted left Advent Christian Village to live with his son and grandson for several years in Georgia, while keeping his options open for other retirement communities. When his son spoke about moving to Valdosta, Georgia, Ted began looking for retirement communities in the area. He applied to approximately six retirement communities in Valdosta, as well as one in Bishop, Georgia.
On a trip to Dowling Park, Ted decided to visit his friend Dick Grillo at ACV. He soon ran in to Karen Thomas, who encouraged him to fill out another application with the Village. Ted was accepted shortly after his visit and decided to move back to his previous home by the Suwannee River.
“Friendship, maneuverability and a great place to live,” Ted said, listing his three main reasons for coming back to ACV.
“Out of all the other places I’ve been, there is no place with a grocery store, post office, bank, clinic, pharmacy, like there is here,” said Ted.
Along with spending time in the Woodworking Shop, Ted enjoys bicycling around the Village and swimming laps in the pool at the Copeland Center. Several examples of his woodworking masterpieces can be found across the Village, including podiums, shelves in the woodworking shop, checker sets in the Phillips Center, and more.
Despite his many moves, Ted Ryan found his home in the vibrant community that we know as Advent Christian Village.