EILEAN SANIBEL, Fla. – Ted Pedas, 82, an astronomy educator, entrepreneur and philanthropist, died suddenly of a heart attack on Thursday, March 11, 2021, at his winter home on Sanibel Island.
Although a lifelong resident of Farrell, Pa., He traveled the seven continents, visiting more than 200 planetariums and observatories, as well as scores of destinations in which he was interested. astronomers, archaeologists, anthropologists, historians and naturalists.
He was preceded in death by his parents Steve Pedas (Tsimpidis) and Angeline (Havas).
The launch of Sputnik in 1957 by the Soviets, the first satellite to orbit the earth, was a major event in Ted’s life. He transformed his major university from industry to astronomy, earning degrees in science education and planetarium science from Youngstown State University, Michigan State University and the University of California at Berkeley (1969).
Ted paid close attention to student education and counseling. He was a champion of science education at YSU’s Ward Beecher Planetarium, 1964 to 1994, and in Youngstown, Ohio, a public school system, launching teacher workshops designed to change the curriculum from “rote memory” to “find. ”He was named Planetarium Emeritus Administrator, Youngstown State University in 1993.
As a founding member of the International Planetarium Association, 1968, he was recognized as a pioneer in the fields of planetarium activity and education. He was elected a member of the International Planetarium Association in 1996.
His numerous honors include the U.S. State Department International Development Agency Award for “Outstanding Service in Education,” 1977, and was twice named a finalist for the Pennsylvania Educator of the Year (1979, 1981).
The Ted Pedas Planetarium in his hometown of Farrell, Pa., Is named in honor of his contribution and kindness to the Farrell District School District and community. His brother, George, as planetarium’s technical director, was the chief master behind the work overseeing updates and displays in the fully-stocked facility. In addition to the planetarium, Ted funded the creation of the Farrell District School District Foundation and the Farrell Alumni Hall of Fame.
His science programs at YSU and Farrell High School included model rocket clubs, in which young enthusiasts designed, built and launched light rockets ranging in size from a few inches. to 6 feet. More than 2,000 Boy Scouts who attended planetarium sessions and stargazing were awarded astronomical merit badges. Programs were designed to add to areas of study that highlighted the importance of star navigation as how escaped slaves, on the Underground Railroad, would use the stars to find their way to freedom.
One of Ted’s most rewarding moments was receiving mail from alumni who proudly described their skill in sailing the night sky while serving in the First World War. in the Gulf.
In 1983, Ted Pedas was selected by NASA to write and co-produce with Tim Kuzniar (his former student), a planetarium show, “All Systems Go,” reporting on the first quarter of a century in America in space, in honor of NASA’s 25th anniversary.
Ted was a well-known news writer on astronomy, space science and travel in regional newspapers. In his weekly column “Cosmos” in The Vindicator, 1964 to 1999, public attendance at Youngstown and Farrell’s planetariums increased. Ted provided scheduled buses for students to accompany him at Kennedy Space Center, where, as a journalist, he reported on five Apollo and Skylab space missions.
The candidate for calendar reform accepted the invitation of Sen. Everett Dirksen to give evidence before U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate committees to pass the Uniform Holiday Act 1968. As a result, start in in 1971, Congress moved four federal holidays to Monday to create a three-day holiday weekend.
Ted ‘s first attempt to organize a group of astronomical enthusiasts has not been as successful. Approaching the fathers of the town of Eclipse, Va., With an idea for an outdoor concert to check out March 7, 1970, the supply of an eclipse was given to a rock festival promoter and was taken out of the city quickly (http://pedasfamily.com /history.html).
Ted Pedas is recognized as a pioneer in the specialized field of oceangoing science travel programs. To avoid the danger of being released, as was often the case in a land-based eclipse, Ted, along with his sister Marcy, ex-brother-in-law Phil S. Sigler and his wife then, Evelyn, the first “Voyage to Darkness solar eclipse cruise” that was a complete success with the eclipse perfection, July 10, 1972, in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Nova Scotia aboard the Olympia. The Greek Line won an award with a full ship (850 passengers) and Pedas ’reputation as the sea astronaut was launched.
The following year, 850 eclipses “Voyage to Darkness” aboard the Cunard, Adventurer, and 2,600 aboard the P&O ship, Canberra, successfully on June 30, 1973, eclipse at sea. New York Times science writer Walter Sullivan described the Canberra deck as resembling a “National Forest Tripod” due to the abundance of stands for cameras and telescopes.
Isaac Asimov, a lecturer on board “Voyage to Darkness, 1973” described the eclipse cruise in his autobiography, “In Joy Still Felt,” “Never before have so many people been in such a stable time without activity any usually associated with a cruise. They taught them and loved it! ”
The Pedas-Sigler board science programs “Science at Sea” were taught by renowned authors and scientists, planetarium directors, astronauts, science fiction writers, astronauts, astronomers, astronomers, aquatics and Transport Librarians. The Culture at Sea program, designed by Phil S. Sigler and New Jersey music educator Tom Pedas, used the talent of travelers to showcase choir and theater performances.
Travelers were not the usual sea sports among the sun’s population. In addition to many astronomy enthusiasts they included several Nobel laureates, philanthropists, business activists, educators, designers and retired people.
“Older people have not given up,” Pedas said. “They want to learn more about the solar system and the universe.”
Ted’s successful “discovery” trips included those watching the equinox at Chichen Itza, Mexico; Perseid shower from the Mediterranean; solar eclipses from around the globe; and the return of Halley’s Comet (1986) which allowed older travelers, who had seen the comet’s route in 1910, to share the experience with their grandchildren.
Ted credits much of the success of Pedas-Sigler’s ventures (1972 to 2004) to donations from his techie brother, George, who was an eclipse solar photography expert; his ex-wife and tour colleague, Evelyn Zurawsky Pedas Delph; friends and helpers, including Betty Clark, Janet Shaffer and Donna McGrath.
Ted’s daily passion was watching “Jeopardy” and riding his bike on the streets of his hometown and at Sanibel. His epistemological memory contributed to lively conversations related to the arts, history, culture and events of the world. He was a humble, quiet, non-judgmental, old-fashioned man who didn’t have an iPhone or a computer, but he enjoyed trimming articles that he shared with others.
Ted is still alive with his sister, Marcy Pedas Sigler; brothers, Tom and George; his sister-in-law, Kathy; nieces, Christina (husband Kevin Lynch) and Stephanie; his passionate companion for many years, Donna McGrath; and many cousins and relatives.
Ted’s sisters mourn the loss of their older brother and best friend, with whom their daily supportive presence guided them through life, beginning in his childhood as Ted skillfully negotiated matters that arose with their parents, who strongly adhered to Greek traditions. When the younger brother showed an interest in music, Ted bought an accordion and a trumpet, thus resisting objections from his father (a former shepherd from Arcadia, Greece) who saw music. music as unemployed, poor souls. He lived as a testament to Tom ‘s success as a music apprentice and was proud to attend the Buhl Playhouse music shows, directed by Tom, who was music director in 1970 and 1971.
Ted loved family, friends, friends, co-workers and endless life. His love of education left a mark on everyone who came into his orbit. He remains a constant inspiration to those with whom he has touched.
Ted chose the phrase, “Experience is the sweet feeling we get from education” to appear with his painting in the 1956 Farrell High School graduation yearbook.
In memory of Ted, share a poem or song with the children in your life. Point them to the stars and start counting down to see a spectacular celestial event – a complete eclipse of the sun, scheduled for April 8, 2024, that will be visible, on a narrow path, across 13 U.S. states.
Funeral arrangements are private.
Provisions donated to the funeral home of J. Bradley McGonigle and Crematory, Inc., 1090 E. State St., Sharon. Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.McGonigleFuneralHomeandCrematory.com.