Norcross Teel Jr.



Langley, Wash.

Norcross Teel Jr. passed to a better place on April 11, 2020. He was known as Nordy to his family and as Pete to others. Over the past four years, he quietly accepted his Alzheimer’s disease with courage and dignity.

Pete Teel was born on July 29, 1939, at Boston Lying-In Hospital, in Boston, Mass., to parents Frances Brown Teel and Norcross Teel.

He had a happy childhood in Lexington, Mass., with his sister, Susie, who was four years younger.

Pete was a 1957 graduate of Belmont Hill School, Belmont, Mass. In 1961, he graduated from Colby College in Waterville with a degree in philosophy. He served as president of his fraternity, Kappa Delta Rho, while at Colby College. In 1962, he was a student in the MBA program at Boston University.

He served his country in the National Guard, including six months of active duty at Fort Devens, Mass., in 1962.

He started his professional career in 1963 at Traveler’s Insurance Co. as a commercial mortgage loan officer in the Cleveland, Ohio, regional office. In 1965, he moved to the New York home office of Traveler’s Insurance Co. as a commercial mortgage loan officer. His territory extended from Maine to Washington, D.C.

In 1970, he became a commercial mortgage loan officer at Mutual of New York in New York City, and, in 1972, he was promoted to overseer of the Central United States — commercial mortgage loans. In 1973, he was promoted to southwest regional vice president and moved to Dallas, Texas. In 1976, he was promoted to assistant to the vice president of real estate in the New York home office, so he moved his family back to New York and lived in Fairfield, Conn. In 1980, he was promoted to senior vice president of real estate at the New York home office. He supervised 130 employees and made investments for the company in excess of $5 billion in mortgages and $3 billion in equities. He retired from Mutual of New York in 1990.

Over the next nine years, he worked part time as a consultant to Mony Real Estate Investors, and as a mortgage loan analyst and as vice president of real estate asset management at Fortis Insurance Co. He was a governor of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts. In 1999, he retired from his professional life and moved to Blue Hill.

On June 13, 1964, Pete married Margaret (Maggie) Smith. They raised their three sons in Dallas, Texas, and in Fairfield, Conn. As a family, they had fun vacations skiing, golfing, cruising on their sailboat “Ragdoll” and spending memorable times at their family cottage “Rockledge” on Pond Island off Milbridge.

Pete loved sailing, and he was a member of the Fair Weather Yacht Club in Black Rock, Conn., where he raced his Cal 25. Pete was also a builder — he built his cottage “Bellevue” on Pond Island and he built his garage at his Blue Hill home.

Over the years, he volunteered in his communities. He was a council member and trustee at the First Church Congregational in Fairfield, Conn., a board member of the Fairfield YMCA in Fairfield, Conn., and a trustee at the Blue Hill Congregational Church in Blue Hill, where he oversaw a large comprehensive renovation project. He was also a consultant in Ellsworth at SCORE, helping people start new businesses. He was a board member of Friends of Blue Hill Bay and a board member of the Bar Harbor YMCA.

On April 29, 2007, Pete married Elsa Swenson Gettleman. They met on a mission trip to Monkey River, Belize, after the town was devastated by a hurricane. Both Elsa and Pete were financial people, so they started a microfinance-lending program for the women in Monkey River to start small businesses.

Pete and Elsa spent their retirement traveling to Scandinavia, Italy and Canada and visiting national parks in the United States. They lived in Bar Harbor for five years and then moved to Blue Hill for five years. They finally settled in Langley, Wash., on Whidbey Island, where they enjoyed hiking and exploring and a beautiful, temperate climate.

Pete had a witty and wry sense of humor — his trademark. He loved his family and especially enjoyed holidays together. In Blue Hill, he diligently fed the birds with many bird feeders and he loved to mow his fields on his tractor. Pete was a thoughtful man — in crisis situations he always seemed to know “the right thing to do.” He was a true leader because he knew how to listen. He was always ready for a new adventure — visiting museums, gardens, cathedrals and going to shows and even operas. He was always available to help others, and he read the Wall Street Journal every day to keep up with world affairs. He especially loved walking and spending time with his dog, Whidbey. He will be missed by so many.

His wife Margaret predeceased him in 2006. He is survived by his wife, Elsa; his sister, Susan Teel Brown of Wellesley, Mass.; Elsa’s two sisters, Wenda Elizabeth Swenson of Houston, Texas, and Melva Swenson Owens (David) of Charleston, S.C.; his three sons, David Campbell Teel (Michelle) of Boston, Mass., William Blackburn Teel (Julia) of Fairfield, Conn. and Elliott Rollins Teel of Cape Elizabeth; Elsa’s two daughters, Jenna Viktoria Frasca (Matthew) of Everett, Wash., and Tyra Lilly Walsh (Charlie) of Langley, Wash.; as well as his nine grandchildren, Lucia Belle Teel, Charlotte Smith Teel, Aiden Jack Teelham, Sophie Skye Teelham, Matiyah Victory Frasca, Beckett Criley Walsh, Wyatt Swenson Walsh, Adelaide Queen Walsh and Ellis Aldrich Walsh.

With amazing gratitude, Pete’s family would like to thank the staffs at Sunrise of Edmonds and Evergreen Health Hospice.

Memorial donations would be gratefully received by The Edge Program at the Maine Seacoast Mission in Bar Harbor.


Know when to pay your respects.