My staff writer Reesa Cruz-Hawkins' father Ted (properly Theodore) passed away on April 8th and I felt that I should say a few words about such an extraordinary man. I didn't really know Ted well, if at all really. Just what I saw and heard of him. He was always standing in line with his daughter and friends, waiting to get in to whatever film he was seeing that day. I say that day, because anyone who knows Reesa or her father know that they are extremely dedicated movie fans. At any given night of the week, you can pretty much guess that if there was a new movie coming out, they were at the advanced screening in the front of the line to get in.
I believe Reesa told me that Ted was 83 when he passed away. I had recently told her that I would love to sit down with him and discuss how the quality of films had changed over the decades and what he thought about CGI versus real effects, etc. Ted had been seeing movies since he was a boy and it just intrigued me to think about all the technology and changes in filmmaking and marketing that had gone on in just his lifetime. As is usual when you put things off, I never did get the chance and I regret that. I wish I would have come to know him better. I know without a doubt he was a good and giving man because of the daughter he raised in Reesa. She is an absolute blessing to me and my work and I honestly couldn't do it all without her. I want to take a little from what Wes Singleton said about Ted, as he knew him better and has a bit more knowledge of his background. Wes does a movie review website entitled Movie Reviews by Wes.
"In his 80's, Ted was retired from Kodak but was more active than most people half his age, including myself. In addition to two blogs he regularly wrote for, he taught ESL at a local church continuing to use his Spanish skills. He was also a musician, sometimes playing bongo drums for a local drumming group, not to mention playing banjo and harmonica with some fellow retirees in the Dallas Banjo Band. The Dallas Banjo Band not only played gigs throughout the area, but they also earned a spot on the TV show America's Got Talent when it filmed here in the area, just two weeks ago.
Given all this, it's not surprising that Ted, a widower whose wife passed away about 7 years ago, bore a family of artists. Ted Jr. is a professional musician in New York City, Steve is a professional artist in the DFW area and owner of an art gallery, and daughter Reesa is a skilled artist as well, mastering everything from sewing to blogging to webmastering.
Sharp, intelligent and witty, Ted was a voracious reader and crossworder. A World War II veteran, he was well-read, kept up with current events and was an avid conversationalist. Ted was also easy to spot at the movie screenings with Reesa, usually taking one of the first seats in the theater, often armed with a book and his folding chair from sitting in line waiting to get in. Just by the look on his face you could tell afterwards if Ted liked the movie or not.
In the last few weeks, Reesa said "Dad hasn't been doing well lately." With difficulty breathing and losing a little pep in his step, he went to the doctor, and just last week learned he had lung cancer. He was seemingly ready to tackle this next battle with the same energy and positive spirit he was accustomed to and it wasn't going to let it stop him from attending the Dallas International Film Festival. Unfortunately, that battle wasn't to be for Ted. He died peacefully on April 8th on the way to see his doctor, at age 83."
If you want to read some of his movie reviews and other writings, go here and here.