Cover photo for Theodore Lum's Obituary
Theodore Lum Profile Photo

Theodore Lum

May 31, 1940 — December 26, 2023

Theodore Lum

May 31, 1940 — December 26, 2023

Ted was not raised with the care and love he needed to thrive, but he always remained a beautiful, decent human. His mother, Nellie, had to raise three young boys under difficult and stressful circumstances, because his father, David Sr., joined the navy, and left Nellie to raise her sons alone. This caused her to have a nervous breakdown. Nellie was unable to take care of her three sons by herself, and so moved with them to Oakland, California, and joined her two sisters and her mother. Ted along with his brothers lived there for about a year. Then Nellie’s brother helped with the transfer of her boys back to Yuma, Arizona. While David Jr., the oldest son, stayed with his father in Yuma, Ted and his brother, Richard, resided in an orphanage in Phoenix, and when that shut down, moved back to Yuma. For the next several years, Ted and his two brothers lived with their father.

In the 1950’s, Ted fell victim to his father’s rage, outbursts, and physical abuse. David Sr.’s abuse had no explanation or trigger. Ted endured a tremendous amount of suffering in his teenage years. This damaged him severely and would affect him for the rest of his life, causing a myriad of dysfunction and trauma. Ted, however, never bore an ounce of resentment or mean-spiritedness. He never felt the need to strike back, because he was not that kind of person. He would turn the other cheek. What Ted needed more than anything was love, care, warmth, nurturance, and a sense of value, none of which he ever received. In 1957, David Sr. decided to forsake his sons again, forcing Ted to join the Marine Corps. Going into the service was the worst thing for Ted, because of all the rules and regulations. Ted had a hard time fitting in. The service actually stunted his growth as a young man. For the four years he served in the Marines, he remained a private, never being promoted to a higher rank. He did receive his GED and took college courses in the Marines. After his four years in the Marines, he lived with Richard in Los Angeles and received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics at Cal State LA. When he and Richard went their separate ways for some time, Ted’s life took a turn for the worse, nearly resulting in homelessness. He was forced to sell his blood for cash as well as partake in various health-compromising scientific experiments, allowing him just enough money to survive. His fortune changed a bit when his mother gave him enough money to live for several years. He also found employment which enabled him to build up his assets. He worked at his job for twenty years and retired with a small income from Social Security. He then moved to a small apartment in Glendale, California. Life for Ted started to improve at this time. Richard, his wife, Alice, and daughter, Tiffany, visited Ted regularly and took him out on day trips and for good holiday and birthday meals. Also, he was brought food and given Meals on Wheels by Alice. 

Ted did enjoy certain aspects of his life. He enjoyed eating steak and fries with Coke. He enjoyed burgers as well. He enjoyed watching UCLA football games. He enjoyed going to different Science conventions at Caltech. He loved staying up late at night, watching World War II movies. 

He considered himself a free spirit, meaning he wanted no constraints on his life. He did not fight the people who picked on him, remaining a true lifelong pacifist. He took their abuse without protest, because he was that kind of person. 

His life took a turn for the worse when he suddenly and inexplicably lost a good deal of weight. He soon had to wear a catheter. His years of heavy smoking had taken a toll on his health. He missed medical appointments and refused admission to a nursing home which could have lengthened his life. He was declining fast and one day his landlord found him unconscious and injured in his apartment. He was immediately taken to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena where he spent roughly a week. He was then taken to Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles with the hope of being transferred to a nursing home. However, his health sharply deteriorated and his doctor advised his family to come visit him immediately, because he only had days or hours to live. He specified that he wanted no resuscitation, and was kept on morphine and high levels of oxygen so that he could pass painlessly and peacefully. 

Tiffany, his niece, was so alarmed at the sudden news of his impending death that she took an Uber three times to visit him. With each visit, his health declined drastically as Ted went from consciousness and communicativeness to unresponsiveness. Richard, Alice, and Tiffany visited him last with a symbolic Christmas dinner and gift on Christmas Day, not knowing that hours later on December 26, 2023, at 2:39 a.m., Ted would take his last breath. 

Ted was always a gentle soul and a kind, unassuming person with a big, giving heart who didn’t let the antagonistic world tarnish him. He was good and will always be remembered as someone that could never hate the very world that hated and brutalized him. By always being a peacemaker and a high-value person, he made the world a far better place, and that is the most noble achievement a human can ever earn. His life was an example of true success. Bravo to all his contributions and accomplishments, and may his unblemished soul now rest and have eternal happiness with his Creator.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation of Theodore Lum

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Starts at 12:00 pm (Pacific time)

Forest Lawn - Glendale

CA

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service of Theodore Lum

Saturday, February 17, 2024

3:00 - 3:30 pm (Pacific time)

Forest Lawn - Glendale

CA

Get Directions

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Guestbook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

© 2023 Forest Lawn Memorial-Park Association

FOREST LAWN MEMORIAL-PARKS & MORTUARIES | Arcadia - FD 2186 | Cathedral City - FD 1847 | City of Industry - FD 2121 | Coachella - FD 640 | Covina Hills - FD 1150 | Cypress - FD 1051 | Glendale - FD 656 | Hollywood Hills - FD 904 | Indio - FD 967 | Long Beach - FD 1151 | Whittier - FD 2302

Privacy Policy | Emergency Portal

We respect your privacy and will not sell your personal information. Forest Lawn will collect and use the information you provide here to periodically email, call, text or message you with information about products, services, and events according to the terms of the Forest Lawn Privacy Policy and Terms of Use until you change your communication preferences at www.forestlawn.com/preferences.

Health Insurance Coverage Transparency
Cigna • Kaiser

Send Flowers

Send Flowers

Send a Gift

Send a Gift