Theodore Swedalla, Jr.
Class of 1964
Ted Swedalla was a sophomore back in 1962 when he started
working part time. Blackman Plumbing Supply is a multi site entity with branches
in all boroughs and also in
When Ted graduated from Hicksville High in 1964, he began a
full time work schedule intending to make a career working for the Blackman
organization. He worked in
In 1967, the organization sent Ted into
the Queens branch that was located on
At that time, I was part owner of a trucking business that delivered carpeting and tile to the New York Metro area. My business partner was my brother in law, Otto Gabrielsen, who graduated in 1964 with Ted. We started the business in February of 1970. I was just out of the navy and Otto was recently discharged from the army. The business was started years earlier by my father in law who was also Otto Gabrielsen. He ran the business with trucks that were constantly breaking down. Otto, Jr. and I invested in new trucks and new equipment and grew the business from servicing several customers to servicing many.
Otto went golfing one day and bumped into Ted who was on an
outing sponsored by Blackman. They got to talking and Ted explained that he
bought bathroom vanities from an outfit in
Ted and his wife, Maureen and their two kids, Kim and Ted
III and me and my wife, Joyce and our two children, Dawn and
Ted was happy in his job except that he had this hidden desire for the past several years to go into business for himself. Ted approached me asking if I would be interested in joining him in this new venture. I knew nothing relating to plumbing & heating but had the knowledge to take care of payroll, paying taxes, filing tax returns, banking and all the office skills required to run a tight ship. He told me I would learn as we grew and he was totally correct. I decided to quit the trucking business.
We opened Liberty Plumbing & Heating Supply on
We capitalized with $45,000 to purchase an opening
inventory that was not huge but covered a wide spectrum of product. To make a
long story short, we operated for 32 years and when we retired in 2008, we were
doing fourteen million dollars annually.
Ted had gotten to know one of our customers in particular who was also a small game hunter, Mike Joyce. One cold, fall day, he asked Ted if he had a dog in his family. Ted told Mike he didn’t. “Ted,” Mike said, “would you like to add a little female Beagle to your family?"
Ted agreed to bring the beagle pup into his home. Little did Ted know at that time, that his life's course would be changed forever. Ted did all the wrong things that first time dog owners do and then some. But despite all his mistakes, his newly found four legged friend named "Dawn" opened a door to travel and friendships all over our country and the world. His beagle by the way was named in honor of my daughter.
Ted toyed with the idea of starting a kennel. He loved animals and though breeding Beagles could be an enjoyable hobby, it also fostered the prospect of maybe improving the breed and making some money. He realized his dream and opened his kennel in 1980 he named TeMaTeKi. The name was a shortened compilation of names…Ted, Maureen, Ted and Kim
Ted began a reading regimen about breeding. As his knowledge increased so did his desire to breed his Dawn with a male who possessed good bloodlines. The birth of a single puppy occurred in the latter part of 1980 and the pup he named Joy. Dawn was bred to Potsdam Firemark.
As the years passed, Ted met many breeders. One was Richard Reynolds who owned a kennel featuring Englandale Beagles and Foxhounds. Richard and Ted maintain a friendship that transcends many years.
Joy was growing and it was time for her first litter. Mr. Reynolds suggested Ted contact a client of his, Barbra Danis, who also was an American Kennel Club Judge. Ted contracted with Barbra to breed Joy to her dog, CH.Englandale Fawnglen Ruffian otherwise known as "Ruffi". This produced his first show quality Beagle that was named Christina.
Barbra took Ted under her wing and introduced him to the dog show world. It was a love affair from the first time he stepped onto a show site.
The breeding of his first litter opened the door to a world of showing dogs.
“Showing dogs,” Ted said, “has given me many friends and importantly my wonderful wife, S. Terri Giannetti. Ted met Terri at a dog show and they hit it off almost immediately. After they were married, they opened a new kennel they named Beowulf Kennel. Ted was divorced from his first wife, Maureen, in 1988.
Over the many years since his first beagle "Dawn" was born, many fine Beagles have entered Terri’s and Ted’s lives. Their hounds have all been registered with the "Beowulf Kennel" name and many have had very successful careers in the conformation ring. We also expanded our breeding to include German Shepherds.
add to our lives in ways that simply cannot be measured.
Here are some
current members of the family at Beowulf Kennel. They all range in age and
their accomplishments are varied--but each one is unique and special in their
own way whether it is their personality, problem-solving abilities or the
harmony of their bark.
Ch. Beowulf Ransom Creek Hide In Plain Sight -
When Pigs Fly - 13"
GCh Beowulf Cavallaria Rusticana - 15"
Ch Beowulf An Uncommon Soldier - 15"
Ch Alkarah Dry Martini At Beowulf
Ted says, “the most important job for these little guys and our shepherds, however, is to be a family member that improves the quality of life for all involved.”
1995, Ted formed the Beagle Rescue Foundation of America, Inc with the
proceeds from the first rescue auction held at that year’s National Beagle
Club of America Specialty. This organization was created for the purpose of
providing spay/neuter monies to direct service rescue workers, for the Beagles
that have come into their care. Another aspect of the Beagle Rescue is that Ted
and Terri will take in any beagle from anyone if the person cannot care properly
for the dog. Also, any dog sold by Beowulf can be returned anytime if the health
and welfare of the dog is in jeopardy.
Several years ago, Ted was given
the job of Supporting Membership Director of the National Beagle Club of America.
The National Beagle Club Supporting Membership consists of those Beaglers
whose primary focus involves conformation, obedience, agility, and tracking.
Both Terri and Ted have been members of the National Beagle Club since 1985. The
club is situated on 508 acres in
2012, the Memorial Walkway came to being, thanks to an idea brought forth by Ted
Swedalla. The brick walkway links the downstairs dining room of the house at
Institute Farm to the back lawn. The walkway was initially laid in
April 2012 by Ted. Any newly engraved bricks are added once or twice a year.
The bricks are a lasting tribute to a special beagle, one special in the
ring, the field or part of your family. It's also a wonderful means to
memorialize special beaglers, kennels or events in the beagle world. Proceeds
from the bricks go towards improvements at Institute Farm. Personalized bricks
are $100 each. To date, approximately $16,000.00 has been raised.
While Ted and I were still
working, Ted had a hobby that started very innocently. He was concerned about
staying in good shape and wanted to lose some weight. He started riding his old
bike around the neighborhood in
Beowulf Kennel bred some great
pups and was very successful not only in the ring, but also providing quality
beagles to people throughout the
Ted discovered that
Ted and I had a lengthy
discussion about his idea. He wanted to pedal his bike from
Ted and I decided to make the trip a reality. Dawn said she could continue Joyce’s care while she looked for employment. I had a motor home that Ted and I would use as a home base. Ted mapped out a schedule of how many miles he would pedal every day and we scheduled stops at Recreational Vehicle (RV) Campgrounds. I would go ahead to each subsequent campground and wait for Ted to arrive.
We drove to
In 2010, Ted had this vision. He wanted to pedal his bike across country. He had continued training after our shortened trip from the year before.
I wanted to be home base again but was now locked into a situation taking full time care of Joyce. Her condition had worsened and it wouldn’t be too long before she would be unable to walk.
Ted hooked up with a fellow,
Steve Kurek, who lived in
They began their journey on May
7th, 2010 departing from
Seventy-seven days later, on
July 15th, 2010 Ted and Steve ended their journey in
The two bikers had pedaled over 4,200 miles and navigated over 200 thousand feet of elevation. The highest point they reached was over 14,000 feet above sea level.
Ted was able to raise over 7 thousand dollars that was donated to
You can view Ted’s blog by Googling Ted Swedalla’s Blog.