Remembering Ted Alexander
Franklin County historian Ted Alexander is being remembered this week as a larger-than-life figure who championed Chambersburg’s Civil War history and educated the public about the community’s place in that history.
Born Charles Theodore “Ted” Alexander Jr. on Sept. 20, 1949, in Tupelo, Mississippi, he was the son of the late Charles Theodore Alexander Sr. and Jane Conrad Alexander.
Ted, 70, died early Wednesday morning in the Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, MD. He had been in declining health for the past year.
Janet Pollard, director of the 11/30 Visitors Center in Chambersburg, called Alexander a champion of Franklin County History in a tribute on the Center’s webpage.
“Year after year, Ted Alexander spoke, wrote, and presented about the history of Franklin County,” Pollard said.
She praised his dedication to educating the public and championing the local community.
He co-founded and coordinated Chambersburg‘s Civil War Seminars, and raised funds for Civil War battlefield preservation.
“He worked for more than thirty years to educate the local community and the general public about Franklin County,” Pollard said. “Using everything in his power, he planted seeds of recognition and worked to make the public understand the importance of this place in American history.“
Alexander was a historian at Antietam National Battlefield, a founding member and on the board of the Greencastle’s Allison-Antrim Museum. He was also a member of the Council on America’s Military Past.
“Ted authored, edited, and contributed to 10 books on the Civil War and other aspects of American history,” Pollard said.
He wrote 200 book reviews and articles for publications likeCivil War Times, Blue & Gray Magazine,andThe Washington Times.
His accomplishments were legend in the history field and he was a consummate educator.
He contributed as the lead historian on the development of the Chambersburg Heritage Center.
He served as Chief Historian at Antietam National Battlefield for more than 30 years.
Alexander was a consultant for the Time Life Books Civil War series and the American Heritage Illustrated History of the Civil War. He was a commentator on the documentary “Echoes of John Brown.”
He lectured at organizations such as The Smithsonian Associates and the Johns Hopkins University Odyssey Program.
According to his obituary, Alexander was a US Marine Corps Veteran serving during the Vietnam War. He received his master’s degree in history from the University of Maryland.
Ted married Avelina “Billy” Alexander, who he met in the Philippines, in December 1972. Billy often accompanied him during local appearances and local book signings.
Survivors include Billy; his daughter, Ricavelle “Rica” Dyas and husband Lyhn of Klamath Falls, OR; a step-granddaughter Claire Dyas of Flagstaff, AZ; a step-great-granddaughter; an uncle A.J. Alexander of Wiggins, MS and several cousins.
Rica said in a Facebook post she and her mother hope to have a memorial service for Ted in October.
“With COVID, some of you won’t be able to make a large group event, so we wanted to try to hold it later when things may allow you to be there,” she said.
The family requests memorial contributions in his name to the following organizations instead of flowers: Allison-Antrim Museum, 365 South Ridge Ave. Greencastle, PA 17225 or Chambersburg Civil War Seminars And Tours, 100 Lincoln Way East, Chambersburg, PA 17201.
The Harold M. Zimmerman And Son Funeral Home of Greencastle handled arrangements.
‘There is only one Ted Alexander’
Alexander’s legacy lives on in his life’s work and dedication to the community.
Pollard’s tribute summed up what many others who knew and loved Ted Alexander are saying in tribute to that dedication.
“Thank you, Ted Alexander, for your passionate drive, working long and diligently, and helping to educate so many about Franklin County history.
You will be missed because there is only one Ted Alexander.”