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Orchard Valley Coffee's 'Santa,' Ted Mehalko

The Campbell resident died this week. A memorial will be held Oct. 9 at the coffee house he frequented: OVC.

The following obituary was provided by the Mehalko family.

The city of Campbell has lost an icon. Ted Mehalko, 78, passed away on October 3, 2011, after a short illness.

He attended University of Pittsburgh graduating with a degree in metallurgical engineering and mine sciences in 1960. He worked as an engineer in a variety of applications.

Ted was an original, a one-and-only, marching to his own drummer with his white beard and signature do-rag. He often dressed as Santa at Christmas and embodied the spirit of the mythic figure year round: kind, caring, and generous—with a dash of curmudgeon thrown in.  He was never one to let moss grow under his feet and was always on the move: whether by bicycle, an old Ford truck, his trusty Vanagon, or under his own power.

Ted was an equal-opportunity “befriender” and embraced folks from all walks of life. Although he had an account on Facebook, he brought people together the old-fashioned way: over a cup of coffee at , or via a home-cooked dinner made with organic veggies from his garden, or listening to music at his favorite watering hole or at . He was often found walking around the .

A confirmed Pacifist, Ted delighted in a good argument—which he often started and then ambled off leaving his sparring partners going at it long after he’d left. Intelligent and inquisitive, Ted exercised his body as well as his mind. He asked lots of questions and wanted to understand anything and everything. He made people think—especially about the environment and nature—which he deeply respected. He often encouraged people that he met to better themselves through education. Ted had a huge heart and a gentle soul. He is one of the few that can truly say, “I did it my way.”

He was preceded in death by his , and survived by his son, Timothy Mehalko, his former wives, Constance Lane and Mercedes Mehalko and his stepson Johnny Robles as well as many friends throughout the community.

A celebration of his life will be held Sunday, October 9 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Orchard Valley Coffee shop located at 349 E. Campbell Ave.

In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations be made to the Sierra Club in his name. 

Mayra Flores de Marcotte October 07, 2011 at 08:59 PM
I work at Orchard Valley Coffee pretty frequently throughout the week. I always saw Ted hovering over various groups of people, smiling a quiet smile. I wasn't actually introduced until his daughter, Pam passed away in July. Gary Dunn, a local homeless man that spends his afternoons at OVC made the initial introduction. I saw the flyers Ted and his family were passing out and asked if I could help get the word out. Ted sat down with me and told me his story, shared with me stories about his family, his daughter and his life up to that point. After the piece went up on the site, Ted always made it a point to come out to my table and say hello, give me a hug and tell me I was doing good work on the site. I saw Ted last week, at Orchard Valley and he gave me a hug, told me "nice work" and moved on to the next table. His smile and presence will be missed.

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