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LAUREL — Ted Michael Heidinger, 52, died Friday, Nov. 26, 2010, after a nine-month battle with cancer. A celebration of his life will be held on Thursday, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. at the Laurel High School auditorium. A reception will be held at the Laurel High School immediately after the ceremony. Cremation has taken place.

Ted was born July 22, 1958, in Glendive, Mont., to Evert and Clara Jane Heidinger. He graduated from Wolf Point High School in 1976, and attended Eastern Montana College and Montana State University.

The center of Ted's life were his two children, Olivia (18) and Matthew (16). He took great pride in being their father, and instilled in them the will to succeed, never forgetting the importance of compassion, respect, honesty and hard work. Whether he was coaching their athletic teams from the bench or the stands, Ted was always their biggest and loudest fan. His involvement in his children's sporting events not only brought him tremendous joy, it also gave him the chance to rekindle old friendships and develop new ones.

For the last six years Ted was Sysco Montana's Director of Territory Sales. In his sixteen-year career at Sysco he earned several awards, including Program Sales Executive of the Year numerous times and Distributor of the Year.

Ted was an avid golfer throughout his life and it was no accident he built a house blocks away from the Laurel Golf and Country Club. Ted's involvement in the Laurel High School Booster Club showed his commitment to athletics went beyond cheering for Matt and Olivia.

The time of Ted's passing (hours after Thanksgiving) is particularly poignant for a number of Ted's friends who shared an 18-year tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving together. Ted's condition kept him apart from the group this year, but his friends delivered all the trimmings to Ted and his family so he could enjoy his favorite holiday one more time.

Ted will long be remembered for his infectious smile, big heart, occasional stubborn streak, but most of all, his deep and unconditional love for his family and friends. Ted's honesty, integrity and direct approach were attributes that served him well in his career.

He is survived by his children, Olivia and Matthew Heidinger of Laurel; parents, Evert and Clara Jane Heidinger of Green Valley, Ariz.; siblings LeAnne Kavanagh (Brian), Cut Bank, Tim Heidinger (Anna), San Rafael, Calif., Stasia Grose, Palo Alto, Calif., Mary Heidinger, Tucson, Ariz., Mark Heidinger (Kim), Spokane, Wash., David Heidinger, Billings, Jan Heidinger, New York, N.Y.; his aunt, Betty Scherger of Bremerton, Wash.; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and countless friends. Ted is also survived by Kelli (McDermott) Johnson, mother of Olivia and Matthew.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Laurel High School Boosters, P.O. Box 1122, Laurel, MT 59044.

Smiths Funeral Chapels handled arrangements.

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