Theodore Off was born January 19, 1928, in Los Angeles and attended University Prep School, Emerson Junior High School, and University High School.
A natural student, Ted attended Stanford University receiving a Master's Degree in Geology in 1952, was member of Beta Theta Pi, editor of "The Quad", the student yearbook, and lettered in track. It was also at Stanford where he met his first wife, Mary Ann Green.
Heeding the call of the Korean War, Ted enlisted in the Navy and was schooled at the Naval Academy at Monterrey, serving on an LST as a Lt.jg for two years. In 1952 Mary Ann gave birth to their first child, Thad.
Ted returned to school to pursue his doctorate at Princeton University in 1954.
Leaving Princeton, Ted went to work for Union Oil Company, Ojai. He was then blessed in 1956 with his second child, Tracy Armstrong. After four years working for others, Ted joined the family business, Ojai Oil Company, serving as President since 1968.
In 1997 Ted married Edith Toohey of Ventura, a life long family friend..
Of his life's many passions, two were traveling through Europe, and flying his "B.G. - Big Toy" as he jokingly referred to his Grob motor glider.
Always a compassionate and youthful man, Ted had a great smile for all he encountered and will be remembered through his tireless commitment to philanthropic organizations of Ventura County. He was a member of numerous associations including AAPG, AIPG, Santa Barbara Geology Club, Coast Geological Society, and the Soaring Club of California.
Theodore is survived by his mother Dorothy Off of Los Angeles, wife Edith Off, son Thaddeus, daughter Tracy, son-in-law Jeff Stansfield, grandson Mason Theodore Stansfield, brother Doug Off, sister Jan Simis, niece Cathy, nephew Ryan, and canine companion and best friend Corey.
A memorial service and reception will be held Monday, May 14th, 4Pm at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Ventura. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to the Dibblee Geologic Foundation, P.O. Box 2309, Camarillo, CA 93011 or St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Memorial Foundation, 3290 Loma Vista Rd., Ventura, CA 93003.
By: David Edward, Ted's cousin.
I know that many of you have funny accents I shall speak slowly. My mother and Ted were first cousins, but as you can tell I wasn’t brought up in this part of the county.
The language barrier between myself and the rest of the office surfaces periodically. For example, one day Ted came into the office in fine spirits and announced that Edith had bought him some new suspenders. I was rather surprised to hear this since - in England - suspenders are what ladies use to hold up their stockings.... what you call a garter belt. You can imagine my relief when I looked up from my desk to see Ted sporting a new pair of braces.
Ted only started wearing braces - suspenders - in recent years. One day he announced rather cryptically that he wouldn’t be in on Thursday morning. On Friday he came in looking like a dog that had just filched a string of sausages from the butcher’s shop. “I went to Magic Mountain” he beamed. “They have a new ride called The Viper. I spent the whole morning there and did every ride twice!” “Ted” I enquired sheepishly” is this really wise at your age?” “Oh sure” he said dismissively” I’m fine”. A week later during a routine check up, his doctor found an aneurism on his left side about the size of a football. After the operation, he found it necessary to wear suspenders to hold up his trousers.
Ted loved the thrill of aerobatics. How well I remember my first flight with him in his glider. We had left Camarillo airport and had flown around, searching for thermals to give us “lift”. On the return leg Ted announced “Let’s have a little fun” which I assumed meant that we would fly over Camarillo or something fairly innocuous like that. I now know differently. We have all seen the classic war films where the Japanese Kamikaze pilot is in the cockpit of his Zero wearing his bandana with the Rising Sun on it.
As the pilot plunges his aeroplane towards its target, he cries “Banzai”. I suspect that Banzai translates as “Let’s have a little fun”.
Ted pulled back the stick so that suddenly we were making an alarming climb. Just as we were approaching stalling speed he moved us into a steep - very steep - dive. The ground was racing towards us as the glider screamed towards the earth. The glider began to shake violently and I realised at that moment, that we were going to die. I looked across at Ted. He seemed pretty happy for someone about to hit the earth at 170 mile per hour.
Suddenly the nose flipped up and we began shooting up vertically into the clouds. “Oh great” I thought “ the tail has come off”. Up and up we shot until the glider slowed and - pivoting on one wingtip - cartwheeled in mid air only to begin its death plunge anew. I struggled to keep my spirits up and my lunch down as once again I prepared for impact. This time, however, Ted, pulled the nose up gently and we levelled out. He looked across at me. I obviously looked a little pale, as one does when most of one’s blood is around one’s ankles. My internal organs were in new, strange places in my body. I was devoid of speech. “That was a “wing over” Ted remarked gleefully “I guess that I should have warned you about that”.
Well Ted has a new set of wings now and a new air traffic controller. I would be willing to bet my bottom dollar that that self same air traffic controller is looking out in amazement as a man - in suspenders - leads the cherubim and seraphim in wing overs and barrel rolls above the Elysian Fields.
By: John Powell, May 14, 2001
Ted grew up learning about geology and the oil business. The Off Family has been part of Ojai Oil Company since about the year 1900.
He continued his education in geology at Stanford University and Princeton before going to work with Union Oil Company and others. After about four years he joined Ojai Oil and worked there with his brother, Doug, and a lot of other nice people until last week.
Some 18 years ago in 1983 Ted was an organizer, charter director, and Treasurer of the Dibblee Geological Foundation.
Since that time the Foundation has produced some 75 geologic maps in full color much like the one outside in the lobby. Our latest map, the Palmdale/Pacifico Mountain Quad was dedicated to Ted. Unfortunately Ted never saw the map. We were planning on presenting it to Ted last weekend at the Annual Meeting of the Dibblee Geological Foundation.
We chose the Palmdale/Pacifico map for Ted since it was one of his favorite soaring areas above the San Andreas fault. The San Andreas fault makes a beautiful landmark to follow.
Ted had a wonderful life as a geologist. He worked in an office close to home with family and good friends. He was an active participant in several geologic organizations and well respected.
I encourage everyone to spend a few moments with Ted’s map outside in the lobby. Although Tom Dibblee mapped it there is a lot of Ted’s love and energy it that map, just as there is in all 75 of the Dibblee Geological Foundation maps.
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