As most of you probably already know by now, last week Ted Vollers finally let go of a long struggle with a multitude of degenerative illnesses. I found out about his passing just as I was packing for a trip that allowed for little to no internet access -- I just returned late yesterday and want to say something in remembrance of Ted.
Ted and I connected shortly after the MBT trilogy was published in Feb 2003. Ted's purchase of the MBT trilogy was the 31st book order I processed-- in August of 2003... yes only 31 orders in almost 6 months. That was ground zero, the very beginning of MBT.
Ted walked out his career at its apex -- He had a mechanical engineering PhD with a specialty in complicated HVAC design -- in order to take full time care of his father who had advanced dementia. After his father passed, he took care of his mother who also suffered from dementia. Though, he still did some occasional contract work with the navy as a consultant, he spent the best part of two decades caring for his parents. He lived at or seriously below the poverty level for as long as I knew him, giving his friends, who were incapable of making their own way, a portion of his very meager social security check every month. Ted was a man who knew his life was all about being of service to others and accepted that very difficult role with nothing but caring and compassion in his heart.
Ted was a natural for comprehending MBT. Being very bright and naturally humble, he understood it much better than most readers. Ted and I both worked the forum together for years... until I no longer had enough hours a day to stay with it....MBT was growing and branching out to other media. Ted became the leader of the forum -- all his effort was volunteered.
Ted diagnosed himself as high-functioning autistic -- Asperger Syndrome – typically exceptionally bright people but with poor social skills (difficulty relating to and interacting with others). In general, if one has a small ego (humble), interacting with someone that has Asperger’s is easy and usually exceptionally productive. If one has a large ego (arrogant), interacting with an individual with Asperger’s is problematic and usually spirals into more and more frustration and dysfunction…ending badly. People with Asperger’s are great providers of life lessons… the feedback necessary to growing up. If you have a large ego (it is mostly about you), then this VR makes it likely that you will end up with a life that is full of frustration, annoyance, and anger.
As Ted got older, his last two years or so on the forum, his health problems got worse and he was in a lot of physical discomfort most of the time, as well as off and on muddled with medication side effects. Through it all Ted worked the forum the best he could – trying to help people understand MBT theory and practice -- a man dedicated to service who knew how to keep going under very difficult circumstances. Eventually, his naturally poor social skills began to degenerate along with his health and his worsening pain and discomfort. When I saw that the forum, which had become more and more stressful for him as his health and social skills deteriorated, was significantly adding to his physical and social dysfunction, I asked him to step down, take a break, and begin finishing up some of his personal contributions to MBT theory. The endgame was approaching.
Ted Vollers was a great soul. A selfless, compassionate man dedicated to helping others as best he could in the face of abject poverty, ill health, constant discomfort, needy friends, and a genetic makeup that made social interaction problematic. We were all offered valuable lessons and valuable information by this man who wanted nothing more than to help his fellow man. Ted, thank you for your immense aid in putting MBT on the map. Your selflessness was an inspiration. I will miss you!