Svend Teglhoj

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Svend Teglhoj

November 21, 2018

Svend Teglhoj Kewadin's Svend Teglhoj, Danish-born adventurer and shipping executive, died at 89.
From a childhood in Nazi-occupied Denmark during World War II, Svend Teglhoj rose to executive prominence with A.P. Moller-Maersk, one of the world's largest shipping companies, then enjoyed 27 years of active retirement on Easy Street in Kewadin with his beloved wife, Marjorie. He died Nov. 21 at Munson hospital in Traverse City following a stroke. He was 89.
He leaves his widow, Marjorie Lott Teglhoj; a sister, Elsa Teglhoj Jensen; nieces, Hanne and Dorte Teglhoj, of Denmark; and five grandnieces.
Teglhoj joined the Danish shipping giant directly from college in 1948 at age 19. After several years as vice-president of ship sales and purchases, he was transferred to Houston in 1979 as president of the Atlantic and Pacific Marine Corporation, an oil-drilling subsidiary of the shipping conglomerate. He remained in Houston until his retirement in 1990.
Svend and Detroiter Marjorie Lott met by chance in 1968 in Lima, Peru, where Svend was on business from Denmark and Marjorie was vacationing with a friend. There followed a nine-year, international courtship that began with a dinner date at Galatoire's in New Orleans and was renewed whenever it fit their globe-hopping schedules - Svend's in the shipping business and Marj's with Delta Airlines. It wasn't all business; they occasionally got away to enjoy sailing the seas around Denmark or visiting Marj's family in Michigan. They married in 1977 at the Kewadin United Methodist church, and two years later settled down in Houston. Marj continued her flying career until 1989, retiring as an international in-flight coordinator at Delta. When Svend retired a few months later, they moved north for good into a new Torch Lake home on Marj's family property on Easy Street in Kewadin. In 2002, Svend became an American citizen - an event celebrated with Michigan friends at a feast of hot dogs and apple pie.
During his quarter-century retirement, Teglhoj was an active supporter of the Traverse Symphony and the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, the Salvation Army and Art Rapids! He was a member of the Traverse City Economic Club and was active in Danish efforts to preserve and maintain the coastal vessel Caroline S, one of the few remaining examples of a fleet that carried cargo to Denmark's coastal communities in the decades after World War II.
But Svend Teglhoj's main activity in retirement was the ongoing pursuit of world travel and seafaring. The Teglhojs' adventures took them to Spain, Chile, Argentina, England, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, China, Thailand, Vietnam and twice to the Antarctic. They covered nearly as many miles aboard their own boats. The first, romantically named Delta Queen, was built in Denmark and provided adventure in the island-studded Baltic waters around Denmark, Norway and Sweden, the Gulf Coast of Texas and the Great Lakes. Svend was such a staunch traditionalist that he required anyone sailing with him to prevent seasickness by belting back a jigger of Gammel Dansk, a potent Danish liqueur so foul tasting that one friend referred to it as "panther piss."
Not your ordinary day sailors, the Teglhojs routinely logged 1,000 miles a year. Harbormasters all along the Michigan and Ontario coasts from Frankfort to MacGregor Bay knew and welcomed the Delta Queen, her successor, the Last Viking, and their skipper.
The family plans a memorial service in the spring.
Covell Funeral Home in Elk Rapids is overseeing arrangements.
Published on December 2, 2018
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