I met Ted Kircher after reading a recent Signal Newspaper article about Ted, a Marine Corps Veteran, who offered a grave site to a family who had lost their daughter in a tragic traffic accident. Ted immediately struck me as a bright, kind, generous, and a proud Marine…. a true patriot. Old Glory is a prominent feature at Ted’s front porch.
Ted Kircher was delivered Feb. 8, 1928 in a New York City apartment on 28th Street by a mid-wife. Ted attended St. Teresa’s Catholic School in New York City until the 5th grade when his family moved to Astoria, Long Island. Ted grew up in Long Island and attended Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, which required passing competitive testing. He was recommended by his 8th grade Catholic Nun teacher. During his high school days, WWII was raging and Ted was very aware of the Marine Corps’ exploits in the South Pacific and at age 17 he sought to become a Marine himself so he dropped out of school to enlist. Ted was an only child and sadly, his early life was emotionally disrupted during his parent’s ugly divorce. He has no memory of his father. But thankfully, his maternal grandmother stepped in to essentially raise him and he grew very close to her.
When Ted announced to his mother and step-father that he was enlisting in the Marine Corps, his step-father laughed and ridiculed him because Ted was slight of build. However, that mockery simply served to galvanize Ted’s resolve to proceed, but he soon discovered that the Marine Corps’ minimum enlistment age was 17 and ½ years. Ted waited six months and promptly signed up Aug. 6, 1945. He was immediately sent to Paris Island, North Carolina for boot camp and afterwards, without a leave of absence to visit home, Ted was sent to Guam via troop ship. While in route, everyone was alerted by loud speakers that WWII had ended. Ted will never forget the Marines and sailors absolute jubilation. It was pure pandemonium.
Ted’s troop ship was promptly diverted towards Tientsin, China which was a drop off point before being convoyed by deuce and a half’s to Peiping (currently named Beijing), China’s capitol city. Though Ted was an infantry grunt, he was assigned to headquarters of the 1st Marines Aircraft Wing and was selected for radio training, which included learning Morse code. Ted’s officers recognized that he was a very quick study. It’s noted that the 1st Marines Aircraft Wing’s very first deployment was during the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. Ted served in China approximately two years.
After China, Ted was assigned to Guam where his unit was assigned to upgrade Guam’s strategic landing strip. As a grunt, Ted found himself on a jackhammer a good deal of his time there, while occasional guard duty provided well earned relief. Throughout his China and Guam tours of duty, not once was Ted able to take a leave of absence to visit his family. Ted is still fretting that he was unable to attend his Grandmother’s funeral as the distance was too great.
Finally, Ted’s Marine Corps service came to an end and he was sent to Cherry Hill, North Carolina where he was honorably discharged August 5, 1949. Ted was determined to continue his education so he pursued attending Pace University in Manhattan, New York for four years of accounting courses. However, without a high school diploma he was told that he must earn that first, so he attended the private Rhodes Preparatory High School in Manhattan, New York. It’s noted that actor Robert De Niro also attended Rhodes. Ted took advantage of their “Veterans Escalated Program,” a 2 ½ year course, earning his diploma in just six months. Meanwhile he joined the Marine Corps reserves (inactive) while his parents moved to Moonachie, New Jersey.
Ted earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in just 2 ½ years at Pace University by taking day, night and summer courses and he worked part time for a military surplus business. Remarkably, Ted had time to date Eileen Marie Nolan who lived across the street from his parent’s home and they were married in Baltimore, Maryland Jan. 6, 1951. Unexpectedly, one month later, Ted’s Marine reserve unit was activated and soon he was in the Mediterranean and Europe for a year long training mission. Ted qualified for Officer Candidate School (OCS), but instead he was shipped overseas serving at Gibraltar, Sicily, Malta, France, and then to Cuba before returning to the USA for yet another discharge Sept.r 2, 1951.
Ted and Eileen resumed their married life and they have 5 daughters, five granddaughters and eight great grandchildren. After graduating from Pace University, he became a night instructor there while working a day job in accounting for Peat, Marwick, and Mitchell Accounting Firm. Ted worked there 5 years and went on to other major firms such as Lehman Brothers where he advanced to Accounting Chief overseeing 5 department managers and 300 employees.
Before settling in Santa Clarita, Ted moved his family to Lexington, Kentucky where he started his own consulting practice and earned his Masters Degree in Accounting at the University of Kentucky. By the way, Ted is a member of the Mensa Association which is an international society in which the sole requirement for membership is a score at or above the 98th percentile on any of a number of standard IQ tests. A 130+ IQ gets you in. Ted said, “Having a high IQ doesn’t make one a genius and that possessing common sense is essential”. Ted and Eileen have lived in Santa Clarita for 30 years as he managed his private consulting practice until retirement at age 79. Ted’s astute stock market investments led to retirement. These days Ted is an avid reader, a member of the VFW and a serious political junkie.
Bill Reynolds is one of the “Boys of ‘67,” Charlie Company, 4th/47th, 9th Infantry Division and director of veterans affairs for The Signal.