Charles E “Ted” Kindel 1925-1990

I was communicating with another branch of the “Kindel Family” as a result of the post I made about the Kindel Furniture Factory fire several weeks ago. As a result I looked through some old files and found a copy of the article that was written about my father’s death in 1990.  Since tomorrow (June 7) is the anniversary of his death, I thought it would be a useful tribute to post the text of that article here.

I believe this was from the Arizona Republic newspaper (in Phoenix, AZ):

June 10, 1990

“Ted” Kindel, of furniture family, dies in plane crash

Despite a promising future with his family’s furniture company, Charles E. “Ted” Kindel followed his heart to Vail, Colorado where the ski buff helped mold it into a world-class resort.

Kindel became friends with then-Congressman Gerald R. Ford, providing skiing lessons to the future presidents’ children, friends say.

But when the crowds came and Vail expanded, Kindel in 1978, moved his family to Litchfield Park, Arizona, spending most days flying above the mountains and desert and practicing aerobatic maneuvers.

The 64-year old father of five and a member of the Kindel Furniture Co. family died Thursday morning in the mountains west of Phoenix when his plane crashed.

Searchers recovered Kindel’s body from the Bellanca Super Decathlon airplane late Friday on the southwest side of the Estrella Mountain range.

“Ted went the way he would have wanted to go. He was an avid flier,” Nancy Kindel, Ted’s wife of nearly 32 years, said Saturday.

“He competed against younger pilots. I believe he thought he could do anything in that plane,” added his sister, Joy Kindel.

“The plane’s emergency locater transmitter was detected by a passing pilot about 7:30 a.m. Friday, and the wreckage was spotted from the air about 10:30 a.m., according to a spokeswoman from the Maricopa County sheriff’s department.

Crews arrived a the crash site about 8:15 p.m. A rescue team had to rappel down a cliff to retrieve the body, which was at an elevation of about 3,000 feet.

Kindel, in the mid-1950’s worked at the family-run Kindel Furniture Co., which was founded by Charles J. Kindel and was known for its handsome copies of 18th century English and American furniture.

Kindel Furniture started in Denver in 1899, but moved to Grand Rapids in 1912. It was assumed that Ted would spend the rest of his life here after he graduated from the University of Michigan, family members said.

But Ted’s passion for the snow and the outdoors kept calling him West, and five years after he met Nancy at a Boyne Mountain skiing weekend, the couple moved to Vail in June, 1963. Ted Kindel became Vail’s first mayor in 1966.

“It was a big decision for him, but it was the best move he ever made,” Nancy Kindel said.

When the Kindels arrived in Vail, the town had only one ski lodge and a steady population of less than 100, Nancy Kindel recalled.

Together, they opened Christiana Lodge – Vail’s third ski lodge, which flourished as the town grew under Kindel’s direction, Nancy said.

In addition to running the resort and other real estate developments, Kindel sat on many civic and private boards. The couple has a son and four daughters.

“It was a challenge, very exciting,” she said, “Everyone involved just worked hard to sell Vail and we did a job. We feel we oversold it.”

He “retired” when the family moved in 1978 to Arizona, a retirement that lasted only two years before he joined Boettcher and Company, a Denver based investment brokerage firm. He was a vice president with the company at the time of his death.

In addition to his wife and sister, Kindel is survived by his daughters, Amy, 30, Juliana 29; Susan, 28; Laurie, 24; and his son, Charles Edward, Jr. 23. He has one grandchild and is also survived by a niece and nephew.

The family has planned a private service, but asks that memorial contributions be made to the Humane Society.

Here’s a few pictures of “Ted” with his Bellanca Super Decathlon (that he had painted yellow and blue in honor of his alma-mater, the University of Michigan):

Ted fueling the Super Decathlon Dad's Super Decathlon

At my father’s service (which was held out in the desert near the aerobatic box that he would practice his aerobatics above) friends flew overhead in the missing man formation and each of my siblings gave tribute to the greatest man in their lives.  My sister Laurie read this which I found very fitting:



Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air….
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark, or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I have trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
– Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Read by Laurie Kindel – June 12, 1990

Godspeed Dad. We miss you.


  1. Carl McMahan says:

    Hope Amy is doing well. Wonderful family. Carl McMahan

  2. Bob Roseman says:

    I sold Ted an 1886 Winchester in caliber 37-70 back in 1975 for $550.00. I found the old letters and paper work the other day and thought I would research him on the internet. Sorry to hear he died so young. Bob

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