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T. R. (Ted) Fehrenbach -- scholar, author, soldier, businessman, linguist, conversationalist and master storyteller -- passed away on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at the age of 88.
He was preceded in death by his parents Theodore and Mardel Fehrenbach of Brownsville, Texas and brother, Charles Wentz Fehrenbach of Stephenville, Texas. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lillian, and one niece and two nephews.
Ted was born on January 12, 1925 in San Benito, Texas to a pioneer Texas family in land development and agriculture in the Rio Grande Valley. He graduated from high school in Hollywood, California and later graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1947. Ted and Lillian were married in 1951 and moved to San Antonio in 1954.
He served in the U.S. Army in World War II and the Korean War, and retired as Lt. Colonel in the Active Army Reserves after over twenty years of service. In 2002, Fehrenbach was honored at a Twilight Tattoo Ceremony on the Ellipse in Washington, D.C. before a crowd of more than five thousand soldiers and participants, and received that same morning the St. Maurice Award at the Pentagon in honor of his role as a writer in illuminating the Korean War and the lessons to be learned from the conflict. Later the Republic of Korea honored him with the Katchi Kapshida Award, thanking him for his contributions to the US-Korea alliance.
His writings produced the definitive book of Texas history, "Lone Star -- A History of Texas and Texans", as well "This Kind of War", "Fire & Blood", "Comanches", "Swiss Banks", "Greatness to Spare" and many other books which are still read widely.
Ted was the Chairman of the Texas Historical Commission from 1987 until 1991, and served on the Commission for 18 years, being later named Commissioner Emeritus by the Governor of Texas. Ted also received the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal from the U.S. Department of Defense, its highest civilian award. Ted was a fellow of the Texas State Historical Association, a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas, a Knight of San Jacinto, and was a Sunday editorial columnist for the San Antonio Express-News. The annual T.R. Fehrenbach Award is in his name and is given to the person, family or organization who has done the most to promote Texas history, its culture and preservation. In 1973 he was named Distinguished Citizen of San Antonio and later received the Texas Medal of Arts in 2009 honoring him for his role as one of the state's leading historians and authors.
Ted was also a member of the Argyle Club, Conopus Club, Sons of the American Revolution, the Princeton Club of New York and was an Honorary Son of the Republic of Texas.
Those wishing to pay their respects may participate in the public viewing on Wednesday, December 4, 2013 from 8:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. at Porter Loring Mortuary, 1101 McCullough Avenue, San Antonio, Texas.
The public burial ceremony with full military honors will be held at the Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota Street, Austin, Texas at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 5, 2013. Following the burial, a memorial service will be held at Christ Episcopal Church at 3:00 p.m., 510 Belknap Place, San Antonio, Texas. The Rt. Rev. Bill Frey and The Rev. Patrick Gahan officiating.
Pallbearers are Vidal Martinez, John LeFlore, John Poindexter, Raymond Welder, Maverick Fisher, Tom Hall, Bob D'Amore, Lewis Fisher and Steve Spadaro. In lieu of flowers, please make your contributions to Friends of the Texas Historical Commission, the San Antonio Museum of Art or Christ Episcopal Church.
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Porter Loring Mortuary - San Antonio
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Published in Express-News on Dec. 5, 2013