2017-03-31 / Neighbors

In memory of a ‘true pioneer’

Grandsen was Simi’s second mayor
By Melissa Simon


SIBLINGS—A recent photo of former Simi Valley mayor Ted Grandsen, left, and his sister Betty Anderson. 
Photo courtesy of Betty Anderson SIBLINGS—A recent photo of former Simi Valley mayor Ted Grandsen, left, and his sister Betty Anderson. Photo courtesy of Betty Anderson Theodore “Ted” Grandsen devoted much of his life to serving the residents of Simi Valley.

Besides being the city’s second mayor in the 1970s, he served in multiple local government positions over the course of about four decades.

Grandsen died March 17 of natural causes at the age of 84.

During a March 24 memorial at Grace Brethren Church at 2900 Sycamore Drive, Tony King, one of Grandsen’s nephews, said his uncle served the community with a smile on his face and always took the time to help those around him.

King said his uncle was a “true pioneer who loved Simi Valley.”

“Ted will be missed by all,” he said. “His big smile, loving and compassionate ways, and devotion to friends and family will be missed greatly by all who knew him.”


‘YOU’RE IN OUR HEARTS’— Above, Ted Grandsen's nephew, Tony King, delivers a eulogy during a celebration of life for his uncle March 24 at Grace Brethren Church. At left, Barbara Grey, one of Grandsen’s nieces, and her son, Jack, say a few words during the memorial. Grandsen, who served as Simi Valley’s second mayor from 1972 to 1974, died March 17 at the age of 84. ‘YOU’RE IN OUR HEARTS’— Above, Ted Grandsen's nephew, Tony King, delivers a eulogy during a celebration of life for his uncle March 24 at Grace Brethren Church. At left, Barbara Grey, one of Grandsen’s nieces, and her son, Jack, say a few words during the memorial. Grandsen, who served as Simi Valley’s second mayor from 1972 to 1974, died March 17 at the age of 84. Barbara Grey, one of the former mayor’s nieces, said her uncle was always kind, considerate and had a way of making people feel good about themselves.

“We had a wonderful life and were so blessed to have him in our life,” Grey said at the memorial. “A lot of him is in me and I will live with that memory in my heart forever. Ted, we seriously miss you very much, but you’re in our hearts.”

‘Devoted citizen’


MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Grandsen was born Jan. 28, 1933 in Ventura to Anthony and Mary Grandsen.

In 1956 at the age of 23, before making his foray into politics, he opened Grandsen’s Nursery on E. Los Angeles Avenue in Simi Valley near Green Acres Farm, close to where Green Acres Farm Market sits today. The nursery remained in operation until he retired in 1988.

In 1962, before Simi Valley was incorporated as a city in 1969, King said, his uncle was elected to the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District Board of Directors, a position he kept until 1972.

Then from 1972 to 1974, Grandsen served as Simi Valley’s second mayor, before being elected to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors as the fourth district representative. He was a county supervisor until 1978.

From 1990 to 2012, Grandsen had also served as president of the Calleguas Municipal Water District board, director of the Metropolitan Water District board, and a member of the Ventura County Local Agency Formation Commission.


REMEMBERING TED—Susan Mulligan of Ventura, general manager of Calleguas Municipal Water District, left, and Michelle Johnson of Thousand Oaks look over newspaper clippings about Ted Grandsen during a celebration of life for the late public servant March 24 in Simi Valley. 
MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers REMEMBERING TED—Susan Mulligan of Ventura, general manager of Calleguas Municipal Water District, left, and Michelle Johnson of Thousand Oaks look over newspaper clippings about Ted Grandsen during a celebration of life for the late public servant March 24 in Simi Valley. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Mayor Bob Huber told the Simi Valley Acorn he was saddened to hear about Grandsen’s death.

“Ted was a very devoted citizen and a hard worker for the citizens of Simi Valley,” Huber said. “He was a very dear friend of mine and he will be sorely missed by those of us who knew him.”

Elaine Freeman, RSRPD board member, told the Acorn she learned a lot from Grandsen while she chaired his 1974 campaign for the county board of supervisors.

“He really understood people and how to get things done the right way, and he spent a lot of time helping others,” she said. “People would just come to the nursery to ask him questions about the city or the county, which was less intimidating than going to the newly-built government center (in Ventura).”

John Newton, who worked as Grandsen’s administrative assistant in the 1970s, said Grandsen’s focus was always on the constituents he served.

“My grandmother used to say that it’s an honor to be in public service and that always reminded me of Ted because he spent his whole life in public service doing good things for other people,” Newton told the Simi Valley Acorn last week. “And never did you ever see Ted looking for credit. He got a lot of recognition, but it wasn’t the kind of thing where he was out puffing his chest.”

Among Grandsen’s accomplishments, Newton said, was the creation of neighborhood councils in Moorpark in the late 1970s.

It was the former county supervisor’s work with the neighborhood councils that “laid the groundwork” for Moorpark’s incorporation in 1983, Newton said.

“I could go on about all the things Ted did. He was always on the forefront of doing things that were progressive and finding ways for government to seriously help people,” he said. “He was just a jovial person and I’m going to miss him a lot.”

Grandsen is survived by his sister, Betty Anderson; 10 nieces and nephews; 18 great-nieces and nephews; 15 great-great-nephews and nieces; and two great-great-great nephews.

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