By SEAN BARRON
Sara Foltz fondly recalled the many times her grandson, Teddy A. Foltz-Tedesco, went fishing in Pymatuning State Park and at a lake near Jamestown, Pa.
It was common for him to bring home perch and other types of fish after a productive day on the water. Even if he failed to make a catch, however, he never returned empty-handed.
That’s because the easy-going boy always was with one of the many people who loved him and whose lives he had touched.
“The main thing is that if he felt someone was down, he made sure he gave that person a hug and spread his love around,” Foltz, of Hubbard, said in describing the nature of her 14-year-old grandson, who was lovingly remembered during his funeral and memorial service Saturday at Lane Family Funeral Homes, Anstrom Chapel, 8387 Tod Ave.
Teddy died Jan. 26 in St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown after being admitted Jan. 21 for severe head trauma.
Teddy’s mother, 32-year-old Shain Widdersheim of 28 Creed St., Struthers, was arraigned Friday in Struthers Municipal Court on a felony charge of child endangering in her son’s death. Her ex-boyfriend, Zaryl G. Bush, 43, of 533 Creed St., is jailed on charges of murder and rape in Teddy’s death.
Foltz was one of about 200 family members, friends, teachers and others who filled the chapel to pay respects to Teddy, who she and many others
remembered as a happy-go-lucky, loving child who loved history and forensic science and had extensive knowledge about U.S. presidents.
Another passion of her grandson’s, Foltz said, was giving hugs — even occasionally to strangers.
Many attendees took their time viewing three poster boards that were a photographic snapshot of Teddy’s young life. Included was a picture of his baptism when he was an infant, a photograph showing a proud Teddy who had successfully carved a Halloween pumpkin, one of the boy in his Little League uniform and several of Teddy wearing a silly grin and with his siblings.
“He was a loving little boy. He always had something good to say,” recalled Dave Lashley of Carrollton, one of Teddy’s cousins.
Lashley remembered a family reunion at which many youngsters, including Teddy, went to a nearby playground. That was one of many times his happiness and zest for life rubbed off on others, Lashley explained.
“In his short life, he has touched so many,” said the Rev. Brad Bloomster, pastor of Hubbard First United Methodist Church, who also officiated Saturday’s service.
Teddy and his family were longtime First United members.
The Rev. Mr. Bloomster said he joined the church after Teddy had moved from Hubbard to Struthers, so he never met the teen.
Nevertheless, the pastor said, he learned a lot about the boy from those who knew him, such as how Teddy loved to watch his favorite football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, each Sunday with his grandfather and uncles.
Teddy was a die-hard sports fan who also played football as a student at Reed Middle School in Hubbard, Mr. Bloomster continued.
Whatever he accomplished in his short life, Teddy always will be remembered for how he positively impacted others, Mr. Bloomster told attendees.
“I hear from person after person that Teddy was a loving child,” he said. “There was no pretense about him.”
Other similar remembrances came from two relatives, who shared several humorous stories about a comical Teddy who took great pleasure in making others laugh.
“I love him more than anything else in this world. I just want him back,” one of the relatives said before breaking down.
Abuse prevention fund
Roughly 200 people attended a memorial service Saturday in Boardman to remember 14-year-old Teddy Foltz-Tedesco, who died Jan. 26 from severe head trauma, caused, police say, by abuse. A fund to help prevent abuse against other children has been established in his name. Here’s how to help:
What: The Teddy Foltz-Tedesco Fund for the Prevention of Child Abuse.
Where: Send contributions to PNC Bank, 70 W. Liberty St., Hubbard 44425.