Theodore H. Van Deventer, a longtime attorney and Rotary Club secretary — and a self-proclaimed “grumpy old man” — died Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, He was 93.
When news of Ted’s death reached the community, residents left comments on Facebook, calling him one of Winter Garden’s best citizens; a great friend who loved his city and cared about his friends; a sweet, grumpy old man; the best attorney ever; and a good neighbor and man.
Van Deventer was born in Philadelphia on March 26, 1927 and moved with his family to Orlando in 1938. After graduating from Orlando High School and the University of Florida, he joined the U.S. Army, finishing his basic training three days before World War II ended. He served in Korea and then became part of the Army Reserves until he aged out in 1982 with the rank of colonel.
Ted met his future bride when he was home on leave; their brothers were friends and made the arrangements. The couple married April 5, 1952, and both were respected pillars of the Winter Garden community until her death 53 years later.
Law was of interest to Van Deventer, so he returned to UF and earned his law degree. He became an attorney and was with the Florida Bar for 50 years. From the late 1960s to the early 1970s, he served as the municipal traffic court judge for the West Orange County area. He closed his practice in 2001 and looked forward to retirement, getting involved in the community and volunteering where he could.
Ted served as an officer in the West Orange Kiwanis and Winter Garden Lions clubs and was the head volunteer recruiter for the Winter Garden Heritage Museum. One role he took great pride in was his position as secretary of the Rotary Club of Winter Garden, one he maintained for about 25 years, his daughter said. He was one of the longest-standing members, having joined in 1984. The Rotary’s annual Service Above Self Award is named for him.
Van Deventer was preceded in death by his beloved wife of 53 years, Mary, in 2005.
He is survived by his son, Kurt (and Judy), of St. Augustine; his daughter, Katrinka, of Winter Garden; grandchildren, Katie (and Peter) Bredesen, of Louisville, and Ross (fiancée Vanessa Builes) of New York City; great-granddaughter, Calvary Bredesen and Selah Bredesen, both of Louisville; and many extended family members.
Taken from the Feature Obituary by
Amy Quesinberry, Community Editor
West Orange Times & Observer