Skip to main content

Norman R. (Ted) Windsor 1930-2008

Norman R. (Ted) Windsor

Ted Windsor passed away on Monday, Jan. 15, 2008, after a brave struggle with lung cancer. He retired from the University of Missouri-St. Louis shortly after his diagnosis in June. Ted joined the staff of the university in September 1971 as an electronics technician. He was later promoted to senior electronics technician. He was born in St. Louis and served in the US Air Force during the Korean War, as a trainee and electronics technician, serving much of his time in Nome, Alaska, as a radio operator. He spoke often and fondly of his time in Nome and subscribed to the newspaper the Nome Nugget, one of which was delivered just after he died. He spent 13 years with McDonnell-Douglas as an electronics specialist and then four years as a systems technician at Monsanto prior to joining UMSL. At UMSL, his major role was in instrument design and construction, but essentially he was the "go-to" guy for most of the faculty members and students when they needed technical assistance. Dr. Lawrence Barton, who served as department chair and essentially his supervisor for 18 years, says: "Ted Windsor was one of the most affable and cooperative colleagues I have ever encountered. As department chair, hosting visitors by showing them around the department, I would invariably stop at the machine shop where Ted was located. As we entered the room, before I could introduce him properly, he would interject that he was the "general flunky" in the department. That was spoken in jest, but it had a ring of truth in that there was nothing Ted Windsor would not turn his hand to in order to help the chemistry department."

He published technical articles with faculty colleagues, but mostly he did all the machining, lathe work and instrument construction that involved building things. Eventually he had most of the tools necessary for this, but in the past he was a master improviser and using this skill, and many of his personal tools from home, he would be able to complete any job he was asked to perform. What made him different is that he did everything so enthusiastically. Typically he would apologize if he could not start the job immediately. He never seemed to have a backlog of assignments, because he simply got on with it and completed the job as soon as possible.

Ted stayed on well past normal retirement age. His iron-horse work ethic endeared him to his colleagues in the department. Many years ago, he attended workshops on chemical balance maintenance and from then on, he did it routinely. He was an expert on maintaining vacuum pumps and resurrecting old ones. He maintained the department inventory and in many respects helped to maintain historical perspective concerning instrumentation, etc. Former colleague Dave Larsen pointed out once in a letter of support for Ted for an award that "there is no job in the department that is beneath him. He was the heavy lifter, the picture hanger, the keeper of the department inventory, the operator of the computer-assisted milling machine, the photographer, the slide maker, etc. etc." Ted was honored with an American Chemical Society St. Louis Section's Chemical Technicians Award in 2000 and the Chancellor's Award for Staff Excellence in 2002.

Ted Windsor was loved by all with whom he interacted and he is sorely missed by his former colleagues in the chemistry department and on campus.

Among the survivors are his wife, Elizabeth "Betty" Windsor; a son, Brett Windsor of Overland; three daughters, Catherine "Kitty" Lindley of Indianapolis, Laura Poiter of Winfield and Barbara Collier of Florissant; a sister, Madge Busby of Cuba, Mo.; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.