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Theodore S. Moyer, state police major

Theodore S. "Ted" Moyer, a retired Maryland State Police major who was Harford County sheriff in the early 1980s, died Monday of pulmonary disease at his Edgewood home that overlooks the Bush River. He was 83.

"We lost a great man in Sheriff Moyer," L. Jesse Bane, current Harford County sheriff, said in a statement.

"History will remember him for his contributions to the state of Maryland as a member of the Maryland State Police and for his contributions to Harford County as sheriff," he said. "Those who knew him on a more personal level will remember him for his devotion to his family and for his devotion to our youth."

The son of a registered nurse, Theodore Shoemaker Moyer was born and raised in Hagerstown. He was a 1947 graduate of Hagerstown High School, where he had been an outstanding football player.

"He was supposed to play football at the University of Maryland, but his mother had a stroke and he had to go to work at Fairchild Aircraft," said a son, Stephen Thane Moyer, who was deputy superintendent at the time of his 2007 retirement from the Maryland State Police. He also played semipro football, his son said.

Mr. Moyer began his state police career in 1951, when he was assigned to the Bel Air barracks.

Rising through the ranks, Mr. Moyer commanded the Greenbelt post, as well as the North East, Valley and Bel Air barracks.

In 1967, Mr. Moyer spent a year studying police management at Northwestern University. He participated in many FBI law enforcement workshops and completed seminars on civil disorder, terrorism, law enforcement and hostage situations.

Mr. Moyer was a major and chief of the Special Operations Bureau at the time of his 1981 retirement.

"He was a cop's cop and was always very fair when he had interaction with people either in criminal or traffic enforcement," said his son, now director of security at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Johnny Hughes, who has been Maryland's U.S. marshal for the past decade and spent 29 years as a Maryland state trooper until retiring in 1996, said Mr. Moyer was an inspiration and a mentor.

"Ted was a big, big influence on my life, and was a man of a lot of caring and humble ways," said Mr. Hughes, who said that as a young trooper, Mr. Moyer dropped off food for the needy and bought toys for underprivileged children.

"He cared about widows and orphans, and did a lot to connect the community and people. I always looked up to him, and when I applied to the state police, he was the first person to welcome me aboard and later was my commander at the Bel Air barracks for five years," he said.

"And when it came time to enforce the law, Ted had a very kind way about him. Even when he stopped people for speeding on the highway, it was because he was concerned about their safety and welfare," said Mr. Hughes. "If he had to give them a citation or a warning, it was given with a lot of fatherly advice."

"My father introduced me to Ted Moyer when I was a little kid riding with my dad to Magistrate's Court at some fire hall in Harford County," recalled Todd Holden, a retired Aegis reporter. "He was a friendly, funny man who wore a badge and carried a gun, and we've been friends ever since."

"I last saw him and his wife, Elaine, at a state trooper alumnus breakfast, and he was the same exact person I had met 60 years ago," he said. "He was just in failing health but still had a great attitude."

In 1981, Mr. Moyer was named Harford County sheriff by Gov. Harry R. Hughes, who told The Evening Sun at the time that his decision was "based on his law enforcement background, his administrative ability and his knowledge of Harford County."

Mr. Moyer praised the department. "At the present time, I think it is one of the most efficiently operating sheriff's offices in the state, and I've been associated with a great many," he said in an Evening Sun interview.

In 1986, Mr. Moyer failed to win re-election as sheriff. He told The Baltimore Sun, "More time to work with kids is one positive outcome of losing the election, I guess."

For years, Mr. Moyer was a volunteer football, basketball and baseball coach and board member of the Harford County Department of Parks and Recreation. He was an officer of the Edgewood Multi-Purpose Youth Center, where he worked to steer youngsters and teenagers away from drugs and crime through participation in sports.

"He had mentored hundreds of kids," his son said.

Mr. Moyer had been an avid Baltimore Colts fan and transferred that allegiance to the Ravens. He also followed the Orioles and the University of Maryland football team. "He was a sports junkie," his son said.

He was a former president of the Maryland State Police Alumni Association and was a member of Presbury United Methodist Church.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Mountain Christian Church, 1824 Mountain Road in Joppa.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Elaine Tucker; two other sons, David G. Moyer of Forest Hill and T. Michael Moyer of Edgewood; and four grandchildren.

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