June 24, 1918 – March 5, 2017
Theodore (Ted) John Spoelstra was born on June 23, 1918, in Fort Benton, Montana, the oldest son of John and Grace Roetcisoender Spoelstra. He died at age 98 on March 5, 2017, at his home in Forks, WA.
Throughout his long life, Ted demonstrated a keen interest in the world around him, particularly the mechanical world. Ted grew up on a dairy farm near Duvall, Washington, with his sisters and brother Kathryn (Kosters), Mae (Kosters) and John Spoelstra.
He early learned the value of hard work and commitment. He enjoyed school and excelled in his studies. He filled his free hours with all sorts of tinkering. From constructing a tractor with spools and rubber bands as a young boy to creating a real tractor from castoff old car parts, he eagerly and successfully tackled mechanical challenges. After studying mechanical engineering at the University of Washington, Ted worked as a civilian engineer at the Whidbey Island Air Base for six months during World War II and then returned to help on the farm. With his earnings, his brother John convinced him to buy a dozer.
The two promptly went into business clearing land east of Seattle. Their business territory grew, eventually leading them to Clallam Bay for a season in 1947, then on to Forks. From that time, Spoelstra Brothers grew to include logging, road construction, and rock crushing.
Ted made his home on the Olympic Peninsula for the rest of his life. Logging machinery was still developing, so Ted and John found ample room to use their mechanical creativity. In retrospect, Ted believed that this mechanical interest was essential to their operation.
Spoelstra Brothers were successful “gyppo” loggers in Forks for 38 years. After selling the logging company, Ted had time to expand his ever-growing collection of antiques, especially John Deere tractors and other farm related machinery.
Local friends helped to set up proper displays in a couple of his large bars, and Ted thoroughly enjoyed giving tours of his antique collection to anyone who came by and expressed an interest. Ted served on numerous timber related committees, county and state, over the years and as a PA Port Commissioner in the early 1990s.
Ted will be fondly remembered for his enjoyment in sharing his collection with visitors, his fairness in business dealings, honesty in his transactions, and careful decision-making. Ted Spoelstra is survived by nieces, nephews and many friends. A private graveside service is planned for the family in Monroe, WA where he is buried beside his parents in a casket he ordered years ago that is painted John Deere green with a yellow stripe.