Ted Maines Obituary, Longtime Orlando activist and interior designer dies at 64

Ted Maines Obituary, Death – Ted Maines, an interior designer and longtime Orlando activist who fought bigotry for decades, died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma on Wednesday. He was 64. “He was concerned about all kinds of bigotry,” said Patty Sheehan, an Orlando City Commissioner and close friend. “He abhorred bigotry. He was enamored with everyone’s tapestry. As a designer, he accomplished more than just make things look good. In terms of activism, he also made things beautiful.” According to husband Jeffrey Miller, the creator of Ted Maines Interiors in Winter Park had a bright and frequently noisy personality that he used to affect change, particularly in lobbying for minorities.

“A light went out in Orlando with his passing,” attorney Miller said. “He had such an enormous impact on so many people in this community. He was passionate about a wide range of subjects.” Miller and Maines married in 2013 in New York City. In 2023, they will have been married for 40 years. Maines was the Orange County Library System’s immediate past president of the board of trustees. In addition, he was involved with Harbor House, the Holocaust Resource and Education Center, the Human Rights Campaign, and Equality Florida. Maines was a regular contributor to the Orlando Sentinel’s Central Florida 100, a weekly Sunday feature that involves a panel of local leaders writing on important issues.

In his most recent contribution, Maines slammed the “Individual Freedom Act,” also known as the “Stop WOKE Act,” which Gov. Ron DeSantis championed as protecting students from feeling “guilt” or “anguish” when learning about historical events. “But first, let me clarify something,” Maines wrote. “In a democracy, individual liberty does not imply the encouragement of historical ignorance.” Maines collaborated with other activists in 1993 to defeat an anti-gay rights amendment proposed for the Florida Constitution, which would have barred state or local legislation from protecting gays from discrimination, particularly in employment and housing.

It would also have repealed existing homosexual rights legislation in various Florida counties at the time. A year later, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that such a state Constitutional amendment would restrict fundamental liberties. “He was a pioneering and outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ community,” Miller noted. “We fought in the trenches for a long time during the war.” Maines was born in New Jersey and raised in the New York City region before enrolling at Rutgers. Miller indicated that he went to Central Florida roughly 40 years ago to work in management for a global corporation. According to the Los Angeles Times, in December 2004, an Orlando federal jury awarded Maines $201,000 in back pay and $1.37 million in damages after claiming he was fired from his employment at FedEx for attempting to hire two minorities for supervisory positions. FedEx, based in Memphis, was sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2002.

Maines then “got into his genuine passion,” according to Miller, and around 12 years ago launched a home and business interior design firm in Winter Park. “He had this way of stepping into a room and figuring out how to make it proper,” Miller said. “He had the capacity to make anything look great. He has an undeniable talent. And he could do everything in his mind.” The couple also liked to collect contemporary art. Sheehan recalls Maines’ sharp wit and sense of humor when he first encouraged her to seek for political office in 1996. He hosted a large fundraising function at his house. By the end of the evening, she had accumulated enough money to launch her campaign.

“He had one for everything,” Sheehan observed. “He was engaging and entertaining. And he might tell you to go to hell and have a good time.” “He’d call me up, and we’d have a knock down and drag out,” Sheehan recalled about his confrontations with Maines. Ted, on the other hand, always rose to the occasion, dusted himself off, and reinvented himself in the face of adversity. He was a truly lovely individual.” According to Miller, a memorial service was still planned for Thursday. The arrangements are being handled by Baldwin-Fairchild Goldenrod/Winter Park Funeral Home.