Theodora "Teddy" Kurkchiev

May 9, 1950 ~ January 20, 2024 (age 73) 73 Years Old

Theodora "Teddy" Kurkchiev Obituary

On January 20, 2024, Theodora “Teddy” Kurkchiev, beloved wife, mother, grandmother,
sister, aunt, and friend passed away unexpectedly from heart failure at the age of 73.
Theodora was born in Debnevo, Bulgaria, and grew up in the scenic mountain town of
Troyan. She had a happy, idyllic childhood surrounded by family and friends. She was a
bright student and star athlete, participating in track and basketball. She was passionate
about art and taught herself to draw as a young girl. Upon graduating from high school,
she moved to the capital city of Sofia and attended the National Academy of Art, where
she earned a Master's Degree in ceramics. There she met the love of her life, Dimitri
Lazaroff, a renowned artist and professor of ceramics.

Teddy and Dimitri established a professional partnership in Sofia, working together to
produce mosaics and other ceramic artworks. They had their only child, Anelia “Nellie”.
With baby Nellie, they fled Communist Bulgaria and sought refuge in Belgium, a story in
itself. They eventually immigrated to the United States and settled in the Los Angeles
area in 1983 with only $300. They started their business, TND Studio, from their small
home, specializing in handmade tiles and it was a fast success.

In 1986, they moved to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and opened TND Studio in Torrance
creating exquisite tiles for lavish homes and catering to high-end clientele.
Subsequently, they moved TND Studio to downtown San Pedro where they created the
largest ceramic mural in the world for the new Disney California Adventure Park in
Anaheim. The “Theodora” logo can still be found on various products sold at Disney’s
high-end stores. They also produced monumental ceramic mosaics for Tokyo Disney
Seas, Universal Studios, and the Aquarium of the Pacific. From these experiences, Teddy
envisioned developing a major theme park focused on intelligent entertainment and
eventually created Uniterra, Inc., eventually focusing on a site in West Oahu, Hawaii.

Theodora was a beautiful and vivacious woman with a warm personality, radiant smile
and charming Bulgarian accent. She loved to cook, entertain, and host elaborate and
festive parties. She loved children and taking care of her family and friends. She was an
incredibly talented artist and strong businesswoman. She was highly creative with many
talents beyond her artistry, including gardening, sewing and cooking. She accomplished
many amazing things and always dreamed big.

She is survived by her husband of 48 years, Dimitri Lazaroff, daughter Anelia Torres,
grandson Dimitri Torres, son-in-law Luis Torres, brother Stephan Kurkchiev, and other
extended family.

A Memorial Service for Theodora will be held at the family home at 2672 Via Pacheco, Palos Verdes Estates, CA, 90274 on Monday, February 26th at 1:00 p.m. 

Please notify Nellie by email if you
plan to attend at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Theodora "Teddy" Kurkchiev, please visit our floral store.

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Memorial Service
February 26, 2024

1:00 PM
Family Home
2672 Via Pacheco
Palos Verdes Eatates, CA 90274


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