As the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos is one of the wealthiest people in the world, if not the wealthiest. Who is Ted Jorgensen and is he part of Bezos’ life story?
Ted Jorgensen was a bike shop owner in Glendale, Arizona. He married Jacklyn Gise, a high school student, and they had their son, Jeffrey, in 1964. The couple divorced and Jacklyn married Miguel Bezos, with Miguel legally adopting Jeffrey and changing his name to Bezos. Jorgensen was unaware that he was the father of the Amazon founder until a few years before his death in 2015.
For more on the stories of Ted Jorgensen and Jeff Bezos, read on.
Ted Jorgensen was born on October 10th, 1944 in Chicago. He lived in Alburquerque, New Mexico, and then Glendale, Arizona, where he spent the rest of his life. Jorgensen owned a bicycle shop, Road Runner Bike Center.
In the early 1960s, Jorgensen married Jacklyn Gise, a high school student, and the couple had a child together, Jeffrey in 1964. After Ted and Jacklyn divorced, he later remarried to a woman named Linda, who he was married to for 27 years until his death.
After Ted and Jacklyn divorced, Jacklyn, who no longer had any sort of contact with Ted, married Miguel “Mike” Bezos in 1968.
Mike legally adopted Jacklyn’s son, Jeffrey Jorgensen, with Ted’s consent, and the couple had his surname changed to Bezos.
Jeff went on to become a high school valedictorian and a National Merit Scholar when he graduated in 1982. He then earned a degree from Princeton University in electrical engineering and computer science.
In 1994, Bezos founded Amazon, an online bookstore, in his garage. After an initial investment of $300,000 from his parents, Mike and Jacklyn, in the company, which Jeff warned them would likely be wasted, the company began trading.
Jeff took the company public in 1997, confident that Internet trading would one day overtake high street book retailers.
Over time, the company grew and Bezos used the money made, as well as a $2 billion loan, to purchase smaller competitors, establishing Amazon’s dominance in the online marketplace.
In 2020, the company’s market value surpassed $1 trillion for the first time. Bezos was the first person to accumulate a personal fortune of more than $100 billion and Bloomberg estimates his wealth, as of writing, somewhere in the region of $170 billion.
After divorcing Jacklyn, Ted Jorgensen had no further contact with her or his son. He was thus completely unaware that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and one of the wealthiest men in history, was his biological son.
Jorgensen only became aware of the truth in 2012 when biographer Brad Stone, who was writing a book about Bezos, entered Ted’s bicycle shop to interview him. Jorgensen confessed to not having been a good husband to Jacklyn, nor a father to Jeffrey.
He hoped to reestablish contact with his son, who he claimed he had maintained no contact with at Jacklyn’s request. With his health failing, Jorgensen stated that he wanted nothing more from his son than to shake his hand and acknowledge that Ted was his father.
Jeff Bezos, who had only ever known Miguel as his father, seemingly had no interest in meeting with Ted Jorgensen but reportedly sent him a letter.
Ted Jorgensen passed away on March 16, 2015, having failed to meet his biological son in person. Though his bike shop was a much smaller scale than Jeff Bezos’ business endeavors, it was highly regarded by the local community.