In Memorium – Ted Gildred

Ted Gildred was, in the words of the President of the San Diego Air & Space Museum, “a larger-than-life guy.”

In the fields of business, diplomacy, education, philanthropy and sport, he was a person of tremendous accomplishment. More importantly, Ted was a family man and friend who was loved and respected – quite literally – around the world.

Born in Mexico to American parents, he attended Stanford University in California, the Sorbonne in France, and Heidelberg University in Germany. In between those studies he even found time to serve in the US Army.

As a businessman, Ted became a prominent developer in San Diego and was responsible for, among many projects the Lomas Santa Fe in Solana Beach, which included 2,000 housing units, two shopping centers, two golf courses, and a country club. Not one to slow down, he also founded Torrey Pines Bank, which was later sold to Wells Fargo Bank.

As a diplomat, Ted was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be the US Ambassador to Argentina at a crucial moment in time. Having just lost the Falklands War, heavily in debt, and transitioning from a military dictatorship to democracy, Argentina was a critical concern and Ted was just the man for the job. His deep love for Latin America and extraordinary work ethic resulted in a successful three year appointment that the Buenos Aires Herald said created “a relationship between the two countries that had rarely been so good.”

In education and philanthropy, Ted founded the Institute of the Americas at the University of California San Diego, and endowed professorships in Latin American Studies at UCSD and Stanford University.

If that were not enough, Ted was born with a love for cars. As young as 4 years old, he could identify every car he saw on the road! He continued to develop and nurture a passion throughout his life for motoring as well as aviation.

An accomplished pilot, he twice re-crated a voyage his father famously made in a single-engine aircraft from California to Ecuador in 1931, just four years after Charles Lindbergh’s Atlantic crossing – a feat that’s commemorated in the San Diego Air & Space Museum.

In motorsport, he was active in racing for over 40 years and even sponsored a team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that clinched first in class and third overall. Ted was also an important and generous member of the Petersen Automotive Museum and Checkered Flag 200, and his personal car collection reflected this love of performance and racing, featuring, most notably, important models from Porsche and Ferrari.

Never one let his foot of the gas, Ted was a positive force of nature and positively affected the lives of millions. His life was fully lived and he will be sorely missed.

Ted Gildred