Thaddeus Ziemlak Obituary

Thaddeus Ted Ziemlak
Thaddeus Ted Ziemlak

February 6, 1926 - November 20, 2020
Born in Adams, MA
Resided in Anchorage, Alaska


Longtime Alaskan Thaddeus (Tadeusz) “Ted” Ziemlak, died of natural causes on November 20, 2020, born February 6, 1926 in Adams Massachusetts, the youngest son of Jacob and Balbina (Kupiec) Ziemlak who immigrated from Poland.
Ted graduated from Adams High School in 1944. He excelled in football and loved to ski at Mount Greylock. He enlisted in the Navy Air Corp on his 18th birthday and served in the Pacific Theater in the World War II conflict. After the war, his passion for skiing led him to Alaska and dreams of skiing year-round. Arriving in Anchorage in 1949 he homesteaded on an 80 acre parcel of land near Service High School on what is now known as Autumn Ridge subdivision. Back in the early 50s he networked with neighbors and acquaintances to clear his land and build a suitable road to his homestead site. Those that helped became lifelong friends.
While building his house he lived in an old school bus, taking on odd jobs. One of his first jobs was repairing batteries and he became fondly known as the battery man. He had learned how to fix batteries from his older brother Walt and Walt’s father-in-law. Ted was an ambitious man who lived off the land and it was in his early Alaskan years that he checked out a book from the Loussac Library on how to build a house. Following instructions in the book and without any other assistance he built his first home in 1950. He also dug his own well 30 feet deep by hand. It seems Ted could fix anything and everything. He was a catch since he had a home with running water. He was introduced to his future wife Dorothy “Dee” at one of his homestead brew parties. One fond memory he’d like to share was that he was having lunch with Dee while she was on her lunch break at the downtown Woolworth store. It was there he asked her to marry him and she said yes. They walked across the street to the federal courthouse and were married. At dad‘s suggestion she took the rest of the day off.
Ted’s house building and interest in construction led him and business partner Bill Plett to open International Building Supplies on the corner of International and Minnesota roads in 1959. Ted being bilingual (he spoke Polish in addition to English) had a kind, friendly, helpful personality which led them to a successful lumberyard business for almost 30 years.
Once retired Ted began to enjoy boating, camping, fishing and skiing more so than just on weekends. He also began to volunteer at the Log Cabin with the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau. In March of 2000, he was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award. He was always excited to share his Alaskan stories with visitors about the good old days, his homestead, his lumberyard-hardware store and digging up clams in Ninilchik. Ted loved his children and taught them the enjoyment of the great outdoors. He was often seen on the Service HS ski trails or trolling for silvers out of Seward on his boat. He also loved his apple and lilac trees, his raspberry garden and greenhouse full of tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. His wife’s flower gardens were especially dear to him and then in his elder years he enjoyed viewing the flowers off of Ninth and N street. Dahlias and peonies were some of his favorites.
Ted is preceded in death by his wife Dee, son Stanley, parents Jacob and Balbina, siblings Casmir, Joseph, Stanley, Walter and Helen. He is survived by his daughters Karen Doyle (Bob), Judy Besh-Clary (Don), Lori DePalatis, Stacey Posey (Dale) and 13 grand children and 10 great grand children.
The family would like to thank Courtney of HomeWell Care Services especially caregivers Holly Irene and Anthony for their exceptional care, and the extraordinary healthcare team at Providence Hospice.
Ted will be cremated by Cremation Society of Alaska, and he will join his wife at the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery columbarium per their wishes. A celebration of life will be held at a later date when family may come together.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made in memory of Ted Ziemlak to either: The Alaska Botanical Garden,; The Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage,; The Anchorage Ski Club, Arctic Valley and Alpenglow Lodge, PO Box 200546, Anchorage, AK 99520

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