Theodore William Landskroener, a former Navy pilot who owned and operated a successful window and door business in Queen Anne’s County for more than 40 years, died May 2, 2020. He was 96.
Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on October 31, 1923, Ted was the middle son of Clarence and Myrna Smith Landskroener, originally of Saginaw, Michigan. The family moved to Merchantville, New Jersey, when the boys were young, and Clarence first opened the Delmarva Sash & Door Company (DSD) in Barclay in 1942.
Ted joined the company at the end of his military service in 1945. He and Kathleen Bottomley of Merchantville, NJ, were married in 1947 and moved to Chestertown, where they raised five children. Although he had no formal business training, Ted built the company into a multi-million-dollar wholesale distribution center servicing builders throughout the Atlantic Seaboard region.
DSD suffered a devastating loss in 1978, when the largest fire in the history of Queen Anne’s County destroyed the manufacturing plant and warehouse. Several volunteer fire companies from surrounding Maryland and Delaware towns responded to the blaze, and before the smoke cleared DSD competitors had stepped forward to help the company remain in operation while the plant was rebuilt.
Out of gratitude for the selfless sacrifices made by civic organizations and business associates alike, Ted took a leadership role in the Maryland State Fire Association and agreed to preside over the National Sash & Door Jobbers Association. Ted sold the company to Reeb Millwork in 2004 and lived out his retirement in Chestertown, where he enjoyed spending time with his large circle of friends and a growing family.
Ted rarely left the house without his Navy ball cap, and he loved to share the story of how he came to earn his Navy wings. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Ted began to contemplate which branch of the service he should join. One day, he spotted a sharp-dressed Naval aviator on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post and decided right then and there that he would do whatever it takes to earn that uniform. Months later, during flight training school, Ted came face to face with that very officer, who had been shot down in the South Pacific and lived to tell about it.
Ted was undergoing carrier landing training, bound for the Pacific Theater, when President Truman dropped a second bomb to end the war. That bomb, he said, surely saved his life and the lives of countless other American military men.
Ted was a giant in the community—a faithful member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Past Master in the Chester Lodge, a member of Ellen’s Breakfast Club, and a Friday night regular at the Chester River Yacht and Country Club, where he always ordered what was dubbed “the Landskroener pour.” He played golf well into his 80s and played bridge until just months before his death.
Predeceased by his two brothers and his wife, Kathy, Ted is survived by his daughter Nancy; sons and daughters-in-law Chris and Marcia, Jim and Diane, David and Sue, and John; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to the Chestertown Volunteer Fire Company.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives, including the way family and friends come together to celebrate the lives of their departed loved ones. Given these circumstances, the family will hold a memorial gathering at a later date.