June 4, 1944 ~ November 11, 2021
Theodore “Ted” Leonard Laugeness, 77, Dilworth, MN, died at Sanford Medical Center surrounded by family on November 11, 2021, after a heart attack. His family and friends are devastated by his unexpected death.
Ted was born June 4, 1944, in Minneapolis, MN, to Leonard “LT” and Helena “Lenie” Laugeness, a pair of wonderfully unconventional and doting parents. He grew up in Moorhead, MN, and for a time, his parents operated a pet shop from their house, which sometimes even included exotic animals such as monkeys and alligators. Their home was a bustling center of activity and a magnet for all of Ted’s childhood friends. The oldest of three, he cherished his siblings Becky and Olie and shared a tightly supportive bond with them throughout his life.
Ted graduated from Moorhead Senior High School in 1963 and went on to serve as a nursing assistant at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Fargo, ND, from 1963-1966. There he helped care for patients and also assisted in the mental and alcohol abuse wards.
In 1966, Ted married Susan Hesby, and for 37 happy years they were inseparably devoted to each other, until Sue’s untimely death on their wedding anniversary in 2003 from colon cancer. They first met at a New Year’s Eve party, and though they had both arrived with other dates, they were immediately smitten and drawn to one another. Not even a blustery blizzard could keep him from getting to her that very next day for their first date.
Upon marriage, they relocated to St. Paul, MN, where Ted was hired as the stockroom manager for AM Multigraphics, which sold and serviced duplicating equipment used in the production of printed materials. In 1969 he was promoted to service technician, where he excelled and was awarded their Technical Representative of the Month Award.
They relocated back to Moorhead after his father’s death in 1977, and in 1982 he obtained the first AM Multigraphics dealership in the country, thus becoming a self-employed business owner. He named his dealership ADDEM Inc. and headquartered it in Fargo, with a branch office in Grand Forks, ND, and served commercial and in-house print shops throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. His wife Sue was instrumental in its success, working as office manager and bookkeeper.
Ted and Sue maintained ADDEM’s success as owners for 13 years. After selling the company in 1995, he stayed on as a sales and service representative until his retirement in 2005; similarly, Sue stayed on for another 8 years until her death in 2003.
After his retirement, Ted briefly worked part-time at Scheels and also at Kinkos, mostly as a means to keep active and meet people. He also volunteered in the community and had most recently served as a parking lot driver at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Fargo, his long-ago first place of employment. There for the past four years he helped drive veterans to the front door and back to their cars.
Ted served honorably as a member of the North Dakota Air National Guard from 1965-1972 and again from 1977-1983. He was a medical service specialist and technical sergeant.
Ted and Sue had two children together, Lynn in 1969 and Thomas in 1975. Together they were immensely proud and devoted parents and grandparents. They did everything they could to instill love, stability, and fun into their children and grandchildren’s lives. He never left Sue’s side for all of her many treatments and procedures during her battle with cancer.
Ted had been a broken man following the passing of Sue in 2003, however on a Saturday night in March of 2006, Ted was blessed to discover true love again when he met Shirley Purington at a singles dance in Fargo. She arrived just 10 minutes before the dance ended, but he spotted her immediately and quickly walked up to her, gently touched her cheek and said, “Aren’t you cute.” He then asked for her phone number and she gave it to him, however he had forgotten that she wasn’t going back home until later the next day, and when she finally returned, he had already left 8 messages on her answering machine.
Finding Shirley brought joy and sparkle back into his life and he quickly fell in love. Five months after meeting they were married in Las Vegas on August 30, 2006, and together they created a new and happy life for themselves and their extended family for 15 years.
Shirley shared in Ted’s sense of adventure and they traveled to many places together, including the Dominican Republic, Seattle, San Francisco, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans, Alaska, Arizona, Ohio, Nashville, and of course Las Vegas many times and every casino in Minnesota.
Ted was always happiest surrounded by family, he LOVED big family get-togethers and celebrations. He was second-happiest when he was on an adventure or immersed in one of his many projects or hobbies. His greatest wish was for everyone — both in his family and in the world — to get along and to fill their lives with FUN and LOVE.
He had a restless spirit and didn’t like to sit still or waste time. He was supremely meticulous and liked everything in his life to be in order and he believed everything had its rightful place — if you moved something and didn’t put it back you could be certain he would notice.
He had a sentimental heart and was compassionate and giving to others — a gentle gentleman who was also on occasion an impassioned “hothead” (his words) and a “mischief-maker” (again his words). He didn’t mind a dirty joke but he was also known for his tender-hearted remarks and his ability to charm those around him and set them at ease.
Ted was an avid backyard birdwatcher and he delighted particularly in purple martins. He recorded the daily lives of his martins in well-worn notebooks. He learned manual 35mm photography so that he could take pretty pictures of his birds. He would get on his hands and knees during dangerous thunderstorms in the backyard to gather fallen baby martins and nests and place them delicately back into their houses. He was well known in the “purple martin scene” and for a time he built martin houses in his basement workshop and either sold or gave them away to others. He also loved offering guidance and wrote articles and editorials for various purple martin publications, one of which won him an award.
He enjoyed fishing the lakes of Minnesota in his boat, loving especially the conversations and good times he shared with his fishing partners. Over the years he also enjoyed various hobbies and activities such as collecting stamps and vintage marbles, CB radios and police scanners, woodworking, listening to music and attending concerts, trying his luck at the casinos, cheering on the MN Twins and Vikings, fiddling with his computers and gadgets, taking walks, watching fireworks, browsing flea markets and street fairs, eating and making good food, and traveling.
Ted believed that all things were “in God’s hands.” He and Shirley were members of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Dilworth, MN.
Most of all, Ted just really adored and treasured his entire family throughout his entire life, and we all really, really adored and treasured him too. He is already deeply missed.
Ted is survived by his wife Shirley (Purington) Laugeness; his daughter Lynn (Laugeness) Mena and grandson Evan and Evan’s dad Ugo Mena; his son Thomas Laugeness and daughter-in-law Tina (Nunn) and grandchildren Abigail and Luke; his stepchildren and stepgrandchildren Michael (Mandy) Purington, Lucas, Lexi, Laina; Steven (Angie) Purington; Sara (Steve) Kukowski, Stetson, Sutton; and Melissa Purington; his sister Rebecca (Laugeness) Drussell and brother-in-law William Drussell; his brother Olav Laugeness and sister-in-law Christine Laugeness; his mother-in-law Beatrice Schmaltz; and many, many more cherished family members and friends.
Ted is preceded by his wife Susan (Hesby) Laugeness and his parents Leonard and Helena (Weerts) Laugeness.