(Dec. 14, 2008)
Teddy Russell Paddock, a resident of the West Park Long Term Care Center in Cody for the last three years, died Sunday, Dec. 14 at the age of 105.
He was born in Kansas Oct. 31, 1903, and was the fifth son of Nathan Alvin Paddock, Sr. and Mary Evelyn (Salkeld) Paddock. The family moved to Wyoming in 1905, coming first by train and then by horse-drawn wagon to their property on the Greybull River at Himes.
As a child, Ted was raised to be a farmer, rancher, lumber mill sawyer, mechanic, and tinker. Reared by parents who firmly believed hard work never hurt anyone, their children never knew what idle hands meant.
The one-room schoolhouse on Crystal Creek saw to the educational needs of the children of the area. These children learned calculus in the eighth grade, and all learned to be thinkers as well as scholars. Ted saw the world around him as a classroom.
Over the course of a lifetime, he gathered rocks, fossils, arrowheads, war axes, and other artifacts of Wyoming. Wandering the hills in search of knowledge, he even discovered a dinosaur that The Smithsonian Institute investigated. Ted trained himself to be a geologist as well as archaeologist. He could accurately describe when, where and how he found any specimen in his vast collection.
After his sweetheart died when he was a young man Ted vowed, "If I cannot have her, I want no one." He remained a life-long bachelor.
His property on the Clark’s Fork River was full of trout. There, he caught fish, smoked them in a bank-side smoker, and farmed his land. His log cabin was homey and comfortable. It was decorated with a bachelor’s taste for the simple and unadorned. Still, the windowsills were used to grow geraniums and ivy. The latest Stockman-Farmer calendar was on the wall. The old Emerson radio was tuned to KODI for the weather, news and Fibber McGee and Molly Show. The canasta deck and cribbage board entertained his guests when they dropped by to pass the time, of an evening. The old wrought iron bed was quilted with feather ticks and handmade covers. The cellar held his larder of canned fruits, vegetables and raw spuds. A cream separator stood in the small kitchen where he spun out the cream and made his own butter and drank the pure milk from his own cows. The chicken coop was always filled with old hens producing enough eggs to stock the kitchen and to sell by the dozen to neighbors “in town. Mail came to the small post office at Clark. Going after the mail was an occasion to stop at Pate Pointer’s place for a cup of coffee and to pass the time with another rancher from the area.
Fresh water ran right in front of Ted’s house in a small creek that was full of watercress and small trout. Sometimes Pate would come Ted’s way, and the two would gather their fishing poles and head out to catch supper.
Ted was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Belfry, Mont., attaining Grand Master. His lodge night was not to be missed.
Ted was involved in politics and had strong opinions about current events. He traveled to Washington, D.C. as a Republican delegate in the 1950s.
Ted took care of his aging mother for years in his small cabin at Clark. When she became too infirm to live in the cabin, she moved to Billings with Ted’s sister, Nana. Ted sold the ranch.
But, he did not retire. Instead, he went to work for Avis Cooper as her ranch foreman at Cody and worked another 25 years, finally retiring at the age of 85.
When Avis sold her ranch, Ted moved in with Helen and Paul Snyder and their two sons, Clint and Victor. He lived with Helen until her death three years ago.
Ted then became a resident of his final home in Cody. He loved it! He was able to visit with people, able to be tended to, and able to participate in his new world.
Ted is survived by his brother, Nathan Alvin Paddock, Jr., of Omaha; several nieces and nephews as well as grand nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Addison, Rawlin, Otis, Lyman, and Eldon; sister, Nana; and nieces, Mary Evelyn Paddock Syverson, and Helen Irene Paddock Snyder.
His clear memory and sharp mind will be missed. He lived a good long life. He has had excellent care and now has gone home. God speed.
Cremation has taken place. Ballard Funeral Home will assist with a small memorial service for residents of the care center.