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Theodore D. (Ted) Gittinger was born August 28, 1939 in San Antonio, Texas to Ted Gittinger and Helen Wells. He attended St. Leo's Catholic school, Central Catholic High School, and St. Mary's University. While at St. Mary's Ted met Barbara Lutz, the love of his life, and they were married December 26, 1960. Ted worked part-time in a local rock shop, which contributed to his life-long hobby of rock collecting and jewelry making, including rosaries from semi-precious stones.
Ted had participated in ROTC in both high school and college and accepted a commission into the Artillery Officer Division of the regular Army on 24 August 1962. Shortly after, he moved his wife and two young daughters to Ft. Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he served on a missile defense system. Ted was always an avid outdoorsman and Alaska provided ample opportunity for hunting and fishing. He also enjoyed bowling and bridge. Before leaving Alaska, Ted and Barbara were gifted with two more daughters.
After Alaska, the family moved to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, where a son was born, then back to San Antonio where Barbara could be close to family while Ted was in combat in Viet Nam, serving with the 1st Battalion, 21st Artillery of the 1st Cavalry Division from July 1966-July 1967.
After returning from Viet Nam, the family moved to Huntsville, TX, where another son was born. An associate professor of Military Science at Sam Houston State University, Ted directed the Lowman Rifles drill team and spent many hours refinishing rifle stocks for that purpose. Now with a young family of six children, Ted decided to resign his military commission and go back to school. He was honorably discharged as a Major in the United States Army June 1, 1970. During his military service, Ted was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Viet Nam Service Medal, Viet Nam Campaign Medal, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Air Medal.
After he earned an MA in history from SHSU, Ted and Barbara moved the family to Austin on June 17, 1973, where Ted pursued a doctorate at the University of Texas. Ted made many friends at UT and took advantage of the student handball and tennis courts. He and his friends also took up culinary endeavors with a dinner club. He tutored many UT athletes and is probably single-handedly responsible for more than one national championship during his tenure at the University. Ted was sometimes given to hyperbole.
In the late 1970s Ted became a staff historian at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library. His responsibilities included conducting oral histories-especially about Viet Nam-assisting writers with research and editing, and producing the Library's newsletter. He also continued lecturing and spoke to many tour groups, generally consisting of high school and college students. He was also known on occasion to repair pieces of Mrs. Johnson's jewelry. Ted retired in 2004.
In addition to hunting and fishing, Ted also enjoyed golf, bowling, boxing, softball and baseball, tennis, handball, poker, bridge and dominos at various times in his life. He took in stray cats (and sometimes people), told great stories, and comforted his children and grandchildren when bruised by life's indignities. He enjoyed good conversation and intellectual debate. In later years he focused on making beautiful rosaries, necklaces and bracelets from semi-precious stones. He especially enjoyed his family and their very many activities and accomplishments.
Ted is predeceased by his parents, Ted and Helen, and his sister, Karen Gittinger Kubica; he is survived by his wife of 52 years, Barbara; his six children Carol (Debbie); Mary (Kevin); Trudy (Ricky); Diana; Ted (Adriana); Ben ( Britney); and his sixteen grandchildren, Lily Harris, Frankie Harris, Aaron Moore, Alyza Moore, Noah Moore, Sam Richter, Elliott Richter, Luke Richter, Claire Smith, Wil Smith, Josephine Smith, Victoria Gittinger, Rose Gittinger, Abbey Gittinger, Miles Gittinger, and Evan Gittinger. He is also survived by his brother, Dennis (Debra), and sister Mary Tedde Gittinger Cady (James), numerous brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews, friends, and many acquaintances.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that you make donations to St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic Church, the Wounded Warriors Project or your own favorite charity.
Visitation will be held from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm on Tuesday, July 2, 2013 at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, 126 W. Oltorf Street with Recitation of the Holy Rosary to begin at 7:00 pm. Mass of the Christian Burial will be celebrated at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at St. Ignatius Catholic Church. Interment will be held at 11:15 am on Monday, July 8, 2013 at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas.
2620 S. Congress
Austin, TX 512/442-1446.
You may view memorials at www.wcfish.com.
Published in Express-News on July 2, 2013
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