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Legacy Society Member Theodore (Ted) Mazzini

Ted Mazzini NowI had the pleasure of meeting with one of Santa Barbara’s quintessential gentlemen, 86 year-old Ted Mazzini. Ted is a veteran of the US Navy. Dapper, even when dressed in casual clothes, Ted told us about growing up in Santa Barbara and his wonderful work as a haberdasher for two of the most elite stores in the history of Santa Barbara, Silverwood’s and Tweeds & Weeds.

“What’s a haberdasher?” you might ask, since it’s a word that’s rarely used anymore. A haberdasher is a person who owns or works in a shop that sells men’s clothes – but not just any clothes in Ted’s case, beautiful clothing made of the finest fabrics from W. Bill London in the most elegant designs in men’s fashion. Today, you could think of stores that might feature a haberdasher as ones that cater to the “rich and famous.”

“You never knew who would come through the door,” said Ted. “Of course, I would never tell you the names of our famous customers – that would be a violation of trust. The people who patronized our stores were very prominent; some were celebrities. They expected the best in customer service – and that’s what I always provided. I often received thank you notes and calls from people who appreciated the personalized service I provided them. In fact, that’s one of the reasons for my support for – and loyalty to – Sansum Clinic. Sansum has unfailingly provided me with courteous, professional service. I opted to go to Sansum Clinic rather than the Veterans Administration for my healthcare. Outstanding customer service is very important to me and it’s been one of the hallmarks for my life. The doctors at Sansum Clinic are first rate but the entire team is what’s made all the difference – from the receptionists to the nurses and physicians and all the support staff. Everyone is helpful and gracious, so my ‘Sansum Experience’ has always been exceptional.

“I was raised by my grandparents in their home on the corner of Canon Perdido and Santa Barbara Streets. It was painted yellow and I was very happy living in such a cheerful home. My grandparents were wonderful people. My grandfather came from Italy and read the Italian and Santa Barbara News-Press daily. My grandmother was a native of Santa Barbara. Together they enjoyed sitting on their front porch, watching the world go by. They were elegant and rather formal, which is something I later incorporated into my work, never addressing my customers by their first names, unless asked to do so. I paid close attention to how gentlemen conducted themselves, their manners and decorum. As to formality, I vividly recall my grandfather preparing dinner for us wearing a suit! When I was growing up, I played tennis and got lessons from the great Mike Koury. I also enjoyed the company of some lovely ladies. However, I never married and today, you might say I’m a confirmed bachelor.

“I built a reputation on providing impeccable service. As a young man, my first job in a clothing store was at Silverwood’s on State Street. My job as a haberdasher was to be observant, courteous, helpful and cordial. I could tell a man’s size the minute he walked in the store. Those were the days when our downtown offered unique stores, such as Trenwith’s, Lou Rose, Andera’s Children’s Shop, Ott’s Hardware, Hunt’s China Shop and I Magnin. An Englishman named Dick Bill purchased Tweeds & Weeds in El Paseo. He bought the store on the recommendation of his friends, Ronald Coleman, the famous actor and Senator Al Weingand, who owned the San Ysidro Ranch together. The store occupied most of the block on Anacapa Street across from the Post Office. Mr. Bill came into Silverwood’s and found that I knew most of the gentlemen he wanted to attract as customers so he recruited me to work for him. I was really honored to be asked to work at Tweeds & Weeds and worked there for a total of 26 years. Mr. Bill was a remarkable man whom I admired and learned a great deal from.

“Fess Parker asked me to play tennis with him at the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort. Over a game of tennis Fess asked me where I went for my healthcare and I told him Sansum Clinic. I remember telling him, ‘Sansum takes excellent care of me the same way I take care of my customers!’ The story got back to me that Fess went to the CEO of Sansum Clinic and told him, ‘You should hear what Ted Mazzini has to say about Sansum – it’s the best!’

“I’ve been a patient for 20 years and all my doctors at Sansum treat me with dignity. My urologist, Dr. Daniel Curhan, is incredibly handsome! I tell him, ‘Hollywood has their eye on you!’ He grins and says, ‘Ted, so far no one’s come around!’ He has a great personality, as do all the people I see at Sansum. I’ve had the pleasure of being treated by many outstanding doctors there, including Drs. Taylor Holve (cardiologist), Mark Abate (oncologist) and John Sim (Internal Medicine). Every year I send my physicians a holiday card thanking them for taking such great care of me.

“In this modern world, it’s nice to know that places like Sansum Clinic, that value their patients and provide outstanding customer service, still exist,” says Ted. “Sansum Clinic exemplifies the high standards I believe in and I feel very lucky to have found a place for my medical care that shares my beliefs, old fashioned though they may be, and that’s why I’ve chosen to make a provision for the Clinic in my estate plan.”