Donald Hendrik Timmer
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MANSFIELD: Donald Hendrik Timmer joined Imogene, his wife of 67 years when he went home on May 22, 2014. Don was born on October 16, 1925 in New York City. He was the youngest of three children born to Dutch Immigrants, Jan and Geesje (Kluin) Timmer. He grew up on Long Island in the Borough of Queens. He went to high school in Brooklyn, near Ebbet's Field. He often skipped school and began his life-long love affair with the Dodgers. Don graduated from high school and joined the armed forces along with every other male in his class. Don served in the 89th Infantry Division of the 3rd Army in Europe and was among the soldiers who stumbled across the first of the concentration camps that were discovered in WWII, a small sub-camp at Ohrdruf Germany. That experience drove him in his later life to tell of his experience, speaking at numerous schools and civic groups. And he felt honored to light the candle for the Righteous Gentile at Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremonies, Rash Hashoah, at the Emanuel Jacob Congregation in Mansfield. He was adopted by that congregation and was honored in 2013 with a leaf on their Tree on Life. Don often joked that he left the Army with a Good Conduct Medal, but he also earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Back in the United States, Don was stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri where he met Imogene Hart at a USO dance. Six weeks later they were married.
After his time in the service Don graduated from the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy with a Master's Degree in Structural Engineering. He worked for the Union Pacific Railroad in Boone Iowa, for Leo Daly in Omaha Nebraska, for Gannet Fleming Cordry and Carpenter and Glace Engineering in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and for Shaffer, Parrett Associates in Mansfield, Ohio. He was appointed the District 3 Deputy Director for the Ohio Department of Transportation when Jim Rhodes was elected Governor and after he left State service, Don was one of the original five partners that founded Richland Engineering Limited in Mansfield.
Don loved being a designer of bridges and designed many bridges across the country, earning a national reputation. But the bridge that he is probably best known for is the covered bridge in Mohican State Park, even though he would point out that it is not really a covered bridge but a bridge with a cover on it because the cover on that bridge is not really a part of the structural system. Don was an expert in covered bridges, designing rehabilitation and preservation of many of Ohio's historic covered bridges, as well as designing several new covered bridges.
Don was an avid reader and loved big band music. He and Imogene enjoyed dancing and would roll up the rug, put a stack of records on the old hi fi and "cut a rug" They loved sweet jazz and one of Imogene's favorite memories was stumbling upon a rehearsal of Tommy Dorsey and his band while Don was showing her some of his favorite sights in New York.
Don was a conservative Republican and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Richland County Republican Party in the 1970's. He was also active in the Mansfield Rotary Club where he served as a middle school tutor, a Salvation Army bell ringer and a foreign exchange student host. He debuted as an actor as Kris Kringle for the Mansfield Playhouse production of The Miracle on 34th Street and those who knew him knew it was type casting. Don was active in the American Society of Civil Engineers, the International Society of Bridge and Structural Engineers and the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers. He participated for years in the OSPE MathCounts program, which is a math competition for middle school/junior high students.
Don was also active in Little Washington Congregational Church where he served as a Sunday School teacher, Sunday School Superintendent, Youth Advisor, Deacon and Moderator. He was a member of the Building Committee who designed and oversaw the construction of the church building where the church has just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the construction. As a representative of Little Washington Congregational Church, Don was active in the Ohio Association of Congregational Christian Churches and served as the Treasurer for many years. He was instrumental in the procurement and development of the Association owned camp "Ewing Woods" located adjacent to Malabar Farm, here in Richland County. He was also the Delegate from Little Washington Congregational Church at the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches a few years.
Even with all his achievements, Don was a humble man who always cautioned his children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren when they had achievements and acclaim by saying, "Now just don't fall in love with yourself."
Don is survived by his three children, Linda Timmer-Upton, David (Sharon) Timmer and Loretta (Ernest) Shaffner; 7 grandchildren, Maj. Jonathan Kirby (Andrea) Shaffner, Donald Hendrik (Penny) Timmer II, Douglas Hart Timmer, Jessica Leigh Shaffner, Karen Michelle Timmer, Gerrit Jan (Ashley) Timmer and Richard Lee (April) Shaffner; and 11 great grandchildren, Rylie Ann Shaffner, Katherine Rosemary (Katie) Timmer, Wallace Xavier (Wally) Timmer, Adriana Clarie (Ana) Shaffner, Annaliese Ranee Norris, Mirabelle Eve (Mira) Timmer, Dakota Jon-Kirby Shaffner, Daniel Eban Norris, Samuel Alexander (Sammy) Timmer, Cael Nakoa Shaffner and Molly Claire Timmer. He is also survived by one brother-in-law, Douglas Hart, two sisters-in-law, Juanita Hart and Peggy Hart Evans and numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Don was preceded to heaven by his wife Imogene, his parents, one brother and sister-in-law, Gerrit Jan and Claire Esposito Timmer, one sister and brother-in-law, Harry and Aaltje (Ada) Timmer Hrenda, a father and mother-in-law, Kirby and Georgia Hart and one brother-in-law, Robert (Bob) Hart.
Friends may call Friday, May 30, 2014 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Diamond St. Home of Wappner Funeral Directors, 98 S. Diamond St., Mansfield. Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at Little Washington Congregational Church, 2323 Washington South Rd., Mansfield. Burial will follow in Little Washington Cemetery. Don's family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to the United Service Organizations, Inc (the USO) at PO Box 96860, Washington, DC 20090-6860.
Online guest registry at www.wappner.com
Wappner Funeral Directors & Crematory
98 S Diamond St Mansfield, OH 44902
Published in the News Journal on May 26, 2014