Theodore "Ted" Urton 1947 - 2021

Ted Urton, a loving father and husband, as well as passionate leader and community advocate, passed away peacefully at home September 17, 2021, surrounded with love from his family. He was born December 20, 1947, in Sebastopol, California, and grew up playing in the apple orchards of his family’s home. He graduated from Analy High School in 1966, and was the senior class president.

Soon after, he met his wife, Jan, at Santa Rosa Junior College, where they were both members of the hiking club and shared a love of the outdoors. They later married in 1972. He completed his B.A. at San Francisco State College and his M.A in political science with a teaching certificate at California State University, Chico, in 1973.

Taking inspiration from JFK’s “New Frontier,” Ted and Jan embarked on a global journey that included a summer bicycle trip from California to Canada; a two-year Peace Corps assignment in South Korea; visits to England, France, Germany and Belgium; and a job as an English teacher for American GIs in the Korean DMZ. After returning to the United States, he and his family started a new adventure in Oregon, where he would raise his family and put down deep roots both at work and in his community.

It was in Oregon that Ted began his 35-year career in title and escrow, retiring in 2014 as the Mid-Willamette Valley Manager for Fidelity National Title. He enthusiastically led with humor and compassion. He will be fondly remembered by many of his former employees and colleagues, who described him as kind-hearted, funny, spunky, respected and a true leader.

Ted was not only dedicated to his work, but also to his community. He was an active Rotarian, and served as president of the West Salem Rotary, taking great pride in their berry sales, an annual tradition that also reflected his love of fruit! He was passionate about learning from others and valued the wisdom of his fellow Rotarians.

Ted strongly advocated for improvements in education, mental health treatment and reform of our “criminal law system,” as he termed it, focusing on both juvenile justice and adult prison systems. He served as president of the Chemeketa Community College Foundation Board, during which time he created a Mental Health Scholarship and a Re-Entry Scholarship for students who previously had been incarcerated.

Ted was also very proud of his work with Yamhill County NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and LPSCC (Local Public Safety Coordinating Council). He sought to develop policies that would better the lives of those suffering with mental illness by opening lines of communication among legislators, government, nonprofit agencies and law enforcement. Ted’s most recent efforts were focused on developing solutions for the unhoused in Newberg and McMinnville through work with the United Methodist Church and other community members.

As if all of these endeavors were not enough, Ted loved his wife and three children, and was proud of their home in the Dundee Hills in the heart of Oregon’s wine country. Ted spent much of his “free time” gardening and working on improvements on the house and property, which he loved to do. He never considered it work, but rather relaxation.

As a child of the '60s, he lived his life with an air for adventure and a passion for life, which he never outgrew. Even at the end of his life, Ted continued with his enthusiasm and youthful idealism intact, as well as his humor, zeal and love for all. He treasured his friendships and was incredibly thankful he was able to say goodbye to many of the people who loved him. To say that he will be deeply missed is an understatement.

Ted is survived by his wife, Jan Urton; sister, Teresa (John) Stafford; brother, Douglas (Angela) Urton; his children, Amie (Angus) Macnab, Zachary Urton and Sarah Urton; and his two grandchildren, Forest and Tilden.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, October 24, at The Old Schoolhouse in Newberg, Oregon. It will be held outdoors and with COVID restrictions. Ted would love you to dress as he would: casual, comfortable and colorful.

Due to COVID measures, please contact Gregg Lamm at if you plan on attending so preparations can be made accordingly. It will also be live streamed at

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Yamhill County, online at or P.O. Box 325, McMinnville, OR 97128.



I had the pleasure of serving on the Yamhill County Sheriff citizen advisory counsel with Mr. Urton and was very sad to hear of his passing. He really did have a passion for helping people, especially people with mental disabilities. My thoughts and prayers for his family and friends. Thank you for all you did with the time we had with you.

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