Ted, 94, was born at home on the Tipton county farm of Silas “Pete” Grayson and Lowey Lindsay Grayson.
Ted loved telling stories about his early years. His farm upbringing during “The Great Depression” was surrounded by love and the land. Beginning junior year of high school, Ted rented the family farm and equipment from his father. For four years, he continued to farm the home ground growing crops and raising dairy cattle and hogs while also farming neighbors’ ground. At Sharpsville High School (’44), he particularly enjoyed debate team and academic rigor.
Ted’s social hours were spent with the Rural Youth organization. As president of the Tipton County Rural Youth, Ted was tasked with visiting and making reports about the conditions of one- and two-room schoolhouses throughout the county. Also on these visits to recruit 4-H members was Rosanna Shoe. Ted was immediately and forevermore taken with “beautiful and brilliant’ Rosanna. In 1952, they were married at Hills Baptist Church and their reception was just a mile down the country road at Rosanna’s family farm. Their loving partnership, filled with all that mattered to them both and obvious to all who knew them, continued for 64 years until her unexpected death Dec. 13, 2016.
In 1945, Ted’s education expanded in an improbable way. Indiana University opened an extension campus in Kokomo, and Ted was in the first class. He was honored to speak in 2019 at a 75th anniversary IUK event. “I suspect I wouldn’t have gone to college if IU hadn’t come here…there’s a definite need for a place like this where a kid can go locally to school when he or she doesn’t have the money or the ability to go away.”
Ted’s education continued at IU Bloomington (BS ’50) and IU Medical School (MD ’53). Next came six years in St. Louis, Mo., where Ted completed his internship and surgery residency at Washington University/Barnes Hospital. With his monthly $9.95 wage throughout these years, Rosanna taught in public high schools to support the couple.
His medical training was interrupted for two years when Ted was drafted as part of the “doctor draft” in the Korean conflict. He served in the U.S. Navy as the medical officer on board the USS Navarro. Ted and Rosanna thoroughly enjoyed exploring the areas around Seattle, San Diego and Norfolk, Vir., where he was stationed. He also spent extended time at sea including ports in Japan and the Philippines.
In 1961, Ted established a thriving private practice in Indianapolis where he and Rosanna had chosen to make their home. The couple eagerly anticipated long-awaited children. Within a few years their family was complete with the births of Susie, Greg (deceased Nov. 30, 2016) and Tom. Ted was an active, involved father, both at home and with his children’s myriad of activities. Ted’s quick wit and humor clearly passed to Greg and Tom, and it is Susie who inherited Ted’s complete delight in listening to all people’s stories. Although Ted and Tom have shared being skilled, compassionate surgeons, they have both been, most of all, devoted husbands and fathers. Ted treasured the times he spent with Tom and his wife Kristen and his grandsons Ben and Michael at their Richmond home, as well as when the four visited he and Rosanna at their Carmel home. Ted also took great pleasure in participating in the lives of the children and grandchildren of neighbors, friends and extended family.
Ted was in private practice focusing on abdominal and thoracic surgery for 30 years. Hundreds of interns and residents trained under him at the operating table through his tenure as a clinical associate professor at IU School of Medicine. He served on the Methodist Hospital Board of Directors. His passion for the technically challenging aspects of less common major surgical procedures was equaled by his joy of sharing stories with his patients having minor procedures under local anesthetic. Even into his nineties, he was frequently sought out for medical counsel by neighbors, friends and relatives. Shortly before his death, Ted actually announced, “This doctor’s office is now closed.”
Throughout his life, Ted remained active in and passionate about agriculture. His 94th birthday was spent at the farm looking over the soybeans. Along with Mike and Ginny Glunt and family, Ted and Rosanna built the Somerset Farm seed stock and farrow-to-finish swine operation. Nearly 4,000 hogs were raised annually with an emphasis on breeding stock and show pigs. Ted served on the board of the IN Pork Producers Association, the planning committee for the World Pork Expo and the IN State Swine Health Advisory Committee. Over the years, Ted and Rosanna were part of many activities and life events shared with the extended Glunt family children and grandchildren. They cherished a mutual love with their honorary granddaughter Sheila Glunt Downey.
Ted’s at-home hours were spent working in his well-equipped home shop or on his John Deere tractor doing all of his own lawn maintenance into his eighties. He appreciated being able to provide his thoughtfully planned travel and Meridian Hills Country Club for his family. Ted served as a deacon and then an elder at Second Presbyterian Church. Retirement began with Ted going to the farm most weekdays with a packed lunch to work on building and equipment repair. Retirement also meant time for Executive Service Corps (ESC) through which Ted mentored many small business owners and high school students. He attended weekly luncheon meetings of Carmel Rotary, Scientech and Service Club (military veterans). He and Rosanna entertained friends frequently and also savored their own “dates” and travels. The couple were frequent active participants at on-campus events at Indiana University, Ball State University and Purdue University up to Rosanna’s death.
Ted’s last years as a widower echoed those of his father who was also a widower (twice for Pete) also dying at age 94. Although Ted never stopped deeply mourning the loss of his adored Rosanna, his four remaining years were punctuated by hours continuing to share reminiscences and laughter with friends – both new and old. Susie and Tom especially wish to express gratitude to each one of you who provided our dad those moments of respite from his profound grief. Thank you all so very much.
Ted lived life on his own terms with strong will and determination and on Dec. 2, 2020, he died the same way. Upon hearing the news a fellow farmer expressed, “He was one of a kind. That’s for sure.” Ted was funny and forthright with a keen, active mind and a commitment to excellence. Fully, joyfully, completely he embraced life! He was a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, neighbor, friend, confidant, mentor, educator, community member, philanthropist, surgeon, lifelong farmer and medical advisor. Days before his death, Ted was awarded an IU Bicentennial Medal for distinguished and distinctive service in support of Indiana University’s mission. His final resting place is with his dear Rosanna at Crown Hill Cemetery.
Extended family includes Charles and Elsie Grayson of Tipton; both deceased; nephew, Ned and Sharlot of Tipton; both deceased and their sons “The Grayson boys,” Whit, Kyle and Barclay; niece, Peggy Grayson Williams (Dick) of Kokomo and children, Angela, Jayson and Todd; nephew, Robert “Bob” Grayson (Penny) of Greenwich Con. and daughter, Emily all survive.
Science dictates that we absolutely must not gather at this time to share together in honoring Ted’s well-lived life. Instead, we ask you to first make a point of sharing your own amazing life stories with those you love. Second, you may choose to consider a contribution to the Ted L. Grayson, M.D. IU Kokomo scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded annually to a full-time student pursuing a degree related to the health/medical fields. First consideration will be given to applicants with active ties to agriculture. Memorial gifts may be made to the Indiana University Foundation with a note in the memo “Ted L. Grayson, M.D. IU Kokomo Scholarship.” Your check may be mailed to the IU Foundation, P.O. Box 6460, Indianapolis, IN 46206-6460.
Ted’s complete obituary with details, as well as a few of his favorite stories, is at FlannerBuchanan.com