In 1982, Ted Mucken stopped by our office on his way to a career somewhere else.
He started to help out. Did a little of this. A little of that. Eventually he ran the construction side of things better than anyone else. Maybe better than anyone else ever will.
April 29, 2022 was his last day on the job. His part-time gig with DeSantis Landscapes grew into a remarkable full-time career, enriched by an extended community of friends and colleagues who call Ted ‘Uncle Ted’, because Ted’s the kind of guy who always feels like family.
Around the shared hearth at DeSantis Landscapes, stories are told of Ted’s duende – a Spanish word rich in meaning and legend that tells of passion and heart, of magnetism and charm, of charisma and spirit. In flamenco, it is a state of energy and grace that is so powerful it can never be defined. But define it, we’ll try.
Ted would hate that we praise him. Because duende also means authentic. And humble and authentic, Ted is.
As we roasted him, and embarrassed him with old stories and old photos, the 100+ folks who joined us at our Salem, Oregon HQ, all feel the void Ted will leave behind.
“Ted defined what DeSantis Landscapes is all about. He defined what landscaping should look like, how it should be built, how it should be cared for — how people should be cared for. He defined what it means to be successful and what our fundamentals were before we had Fundamentals. More than anything, he represented Fundamental #25 – Keep Things Fun. Ted made work fun and he made excellence attainable for everyone,” said company president Dean DeSantis in prepared remarks.
As parties go, Ted’s farewell lunch was a doozy. The past, present and future of DeSantis Landscapes came together around a shared meal and a common theme: our gratitude for the friendship and mentorship of Ted Mucken. For a life and career well-lived, for his wisdom and insight, his compassion and humor, his ability to put everyone at ease, and for the spirit of duende that will forever unite us in common ground.
Please join us in thanking Ted for the remarkable impact he had on our business and our lives, his contributions to community and industry, and in wishing him all the best as he embarks on a new journey.