I wasn’t there at the beginning. I have no memory of Ted Bondi student athlete and All-American soccer player at Brockport, or Ted, the three-time sectional winning coach at Geneseo Central School. I only had the pleasure of getting to know Ted, who died over the weekend, in the last few years of his life as a member of the Downtown Geneseo morning coffee klatch.
As a little bit of a stranger in Geneseo, having spent most of the first 25 years of my time in the Genesee Valley in Avon and Caledonia, Ted took me in as a friend and made me feel welcome. Of course the fact that he had known my mother Alice Wadsworth Strong (who was just a couple of years older than Ted) growing up in Geneseo probably didn’t hurt.
When you think of small-town tradition in Geneseo, you naturally think of Ted and his surviving sidekick Bob McDonald. They loved nothing more than to recount local history and if I had a question about anything that ever happened in Geneseo I knew that all I had to do was drop in to the coffee shop on a weekday morning and Ted and Bob would know the answer. And truly, as I discovered on many occasions, if they didn’t know, nobody did!
Ted’s death comes as a shock because even though he was 81 he gave the impression that he could probably still go out on the soccer field and score a few goals. I repeatedly tried to recruit him to join our tennis club but he claimed his hips and knees wouldn’t stand it.
I saw Ted for the last time just a few weeks ago at his regular perch at the coffee shop. As always he greeted me warmly. In fact, I had gone into the shop specifically looking for Ted to try to recruit him into playing in my Genesee Croakers Croquet League.
I explained to him that this was the perfect game for him, since he would be able to revive his competitive instincts without putting undue strain on the body. Ted heard me out in his good-natured way and said that maybe he would give it a try. I almost called him last week when I had a vacancy, but it was never to be.
Ted leaves a huge hole not just in the coffee klatch but in the soul of Geneseo. It is for those who knew him better to recount all the many contributions he made to the community. I will just miss his friendship and uncommon decency.