Ted Lee Crail, 85, passed away April 16, 2014, in Kalispell.
He was born Sept. 16, 1929, in Wolf Point to Lloyd and Bertha (Murray) Crail.
He was raised in Kalispell, though he lived for many years on both coasts, in Florida and California, it was Kalispell he returned to in 2006 with his longtime friend Maria Arnold who became his wife on Feb. 10, 2014. He was previously married to Lee Polivan Crail for 42 years.
Ted was a writer, newspaperman, a family man, pacifist, an animal activist, an artist and he woke up cheerful every single day of his life. His writing career began in high school, Class of 1946, where he was co-editor of the Flathead Arrow. He moved on to study creative writing at the University of Washington. During college, his article “Progress Hits My Town” about the effects of the Hungry Horse Dam on Kalispell was published by the Saturday Evening Post.
Ted's first job out of college was at the Dunn Daily Record in North Carolina. The Associated Press picked up his stories on a regular basis and sent them around the world on the news wire. He also wanted pictures to go along with his stories and photographers were not plentiful, so Ted taught himself to take pictures and would soon be documenting the news and lives of the stories he went out on. The camera became a daily accessory in his creative life for the rest of his life.
Ted loved to write, he loved to interview, he loved to talk and he loved to get the story. He and his family moved to Florida and Ted continued his career as a newspaperman. He had many jobs at various papers and finally settled in as the editor of The Miami Beach Sun where he reported on and interviewed dozens of the biggest celebrities of the day.
His daily column, “MY Daze” was a popular feature in the paper, where he put a more personal spin on the stories of his life including his family and other notable encounters. Next, Ted went into public relations and worked as Jackie Gleason's personal press representative and ghostwriter for several years.
In 1975, Ted with his wife and daughter moved to California where Ted went to work saving the animals in his new job as vice president of creative affairs for Sacramento's Animal Protection Institute (now re-named Born Free USA). This job also led him to become a filmmaker and an author. His film “The Ninth Crusade” was a movie history of animal-rights campaigns and was narrated by Beau Bridges. His next big project was the book, “Apetalk and Whalespeak: The Quest for Interspecies Communication.”
Ted took up making art as another form of self-expression and using his own photographs of celebrities, his drawings and even digital imaging. Ted combined them with text, delivering his clever ideas about love, politics and the meaning of life in a colorful pop-art style. His large collection of posters were displayed in an art exhibit on the long, open walls in the Arts and Technology Building at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister, Ruth Crail Broeder and brother, Timothy Crail.
Ted Crail is survived by his wife, Maria Arnold Crail, of Kalispell; and his daughter, Carr Crail Goslow, of Sacramento, Calif.; sister, Peggy Byrne, of Kalispell; brother, the Rev. Donn Crail, of Claremont, Calif.; and many nieces and nephews.
There are no services planned for Ted at this time.
Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home is caring for Ted's family. You are invited to go to www.jgfuneralhome.com to offer condolences and view Ted's tribute wall.