Part 3: Death

Ted's siblings discuss his death


Linda Post: Once we heard that he was to be married over there in Vietnam, I thought it would be nice if we all got together and helped Mother and Dad to be able to make the trip. His response was sort of a “Thank you, Lin, but no thanks. It’s a very dangerous situation.”

Gary Studebaker: So after he got done serving two years in Vietnam, he got married, and then he and his wife decided to go on for a third year, and of course, he was killed six days after that.

Doug Studebaker: He was killed point blank. A volley of shots ended his life. Those volley of shots reeled him backwards into a closet. On that closet door was a poster that Ted had seen fit to put up there, and it was “What if they gave a war, and nobody came?”

Lowell Studebaker: The Stars and Stripes, which of course was a military publication, made some extremely complimentary and kind remarks about Ted and his work that they were familiar with.

Gary: When he got killed then all of a sudden we read and learn more about him, and it leads us to believe that here is a brother who was . . . lived the kind of life that . . . I want to live that kind of life. I want to be that brazen. Lord, give me the power to do that.

Ron Studebaker: Ted’s life, the example of his short life, was something that helped strengthen our own family and our own relationships as a family.

Mary Ann Cornell: When Ted died, we siblings all gathered at the farm where we grew up, and we were a week together before his body came back to us. I think that really kind of made us more aware, certainly made us more aware, of what Ted believed and how he really was able to follow his beliefs.

Lowell: It certainly made a difference in my life because I had completed military service by the time Ted was 10 years old. I wasn’t familiar with his life other than I knew he was an athlete following in the tracks of all the rest of us. So it made a huge impression on me what happened to Ted—an indelible impression.

Mary Ann: Peace is certainly not for wimps. He had the strength to stand up and listen to other people but also to let them hear what his views were.

Gary: And when people would write him letters, he’d say, “You know, if you really want to do something for me, do whatever you can to work for peace in nonviolent ways,” because he was seeing things that caused him to say that.

Doug: I think it does take an additional effort to be a pacifist and to follow peace. Ted had detractors. Many people would see him as unpatriotic. And he got a scathing review about his un-Americanism. How can he call himself a Christian or a God-fearing person when he speaks about . . . that his country is in the wrong in this war? Of course, Ted felt that all war was wrong. But what was remarkable, he responded and penned his response to that attack on him from this gentleman in his hometown area, but he did it with such compassion, which was really very remarkable and within hours of him being killed . . . point blank by an individual . . . part of the war. He came up and read this letter to the nurse, a Church World Service worker in the compound where he was. I found that remarkable. One of the last things that he did in his life was write a very compassionate letter, and further just underscoring his commitment to peace, and to dealing peacefully even with those who don’t see things quite the way we see them.

A letter from a critic 

In response to Ted's letter--which was published March 20, 1971, in the Troy Daily News--a Troy resident sent the following letter to Ted. Text courtesy of Gary Studebaker. 

Ted's response to his critic, April 25, 1971

Just hours before he died, Ted wrote the following response to his critics. Text courtesy of Gary Studebaker.

Phyllis Cribby's incident report on Ted's death

Text courtesy of Mary E. Johnsen, sister of Phyllis Cribby. 

ABC News story of Ted's death

To view the ABC News story of Ted's death, go to Ted Studebaker ABC News Story