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Friendly faces in familiar places: Everald Timm

Garfield resident shares a slice of his story

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Everald Timm sits in his backyard in Garfield. “It’s just home; it feels comfortable,” Timm said. “I’m 91 years old, and I haven’t got many plans for the future. Just day by day.” (Jasmine Johnson / Echo Press)

Kind, friendly and helpful.

That’s how Everald Timm, 91, wants to be remembered.

Born in a farmhouse near Garfield during the Great Depression, the drought swept the Midwest and farmers didn’t have many crops.

As he grew up, Timm said his family had “things that you never dreamed of,” like a radio and later a TV.

“There’s just been so much change,” he said. “It’s staggering, really.”

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Timm and his wife, Betty, went to grade school together and started dating in high school. They got married in 1951 before he was drafted by the military during the Korean War in 1953, but he didn’t end up fighting because he was drafted toward the end of the war.

After spending two years in the service, Timm moved to Fargo and attended Hanson’s Mechanical Trade School to study mechanics. He taught auto mechanics, worked in a garage and a dealership in the Moorhead area.

After spending 11 years in Moorhead, Garfield Grocery and Hardware had an opportunity open up. Timm moved back to his hometown to run the store and do small engine repairs.

“I thought I’d take a chance and be a businessman,” Timm said. “With all the competition from big stores, it was pretty tough in a small town.”

Then, a job opened up at Alexandria Technical and Community College to be a small engine repair instructor, which he did for 21 years until he retired. As a 62-year-old, he had a 100-acre hobby farm to take care of in addition to his teaching job.

“I had a few head of cattle, and I just decided it was time to do a little farming and woodworking,” Timm said

Timm started making unique woodwork pieces in the 1990s. He attended craft shows and sold anything from clocks to shelves to picture frames.

“I just bought a scroll saw and started cutting,” he said. “Probably because I was always kinda mechanical, it wasn’t that hard to pick up.”

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As his wife’s health deteriorated and she couldn’t come with him anymore, Timm stopped attending the craft fairs.

“I didn’t want to be doing it all the time by myself,” he said. “It’s just too much to do alone. Unpack and pack, haul the stuff back and forth.”

He still makes some custom plaques for weddings and new babies.

“I don’t like to blow my own horn that much,” Timm said. “I’m so thankful my health is as good as it is, and I’m still living alone taking care of myself, cooking for myself, doing everything for myself.There are a lot of people that are not as well off as I am in that respect.”

Timm has three sons; two live in the Alexandria area and one lives in Hutchinson. He has eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren. All of his sons have jobs, and all of his grandchildren are employed or going to school.

“They’re all working and doing well, so I’m very proud of all of them,” Timm said. “I’m very proud of the good job we did raising them, I think. And how my sons raise their children, too.”

During retirement, Timm also started traveling more. He took a few trips with his wife while she was healthy, but he’s gone on quite a few bus trips since she died in 2011, anywhere from Texas to Tennessee. He’s been to almost all 50 states.

“I may not have hit Connecticut or Rhode Island,” he said.

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Timm met a friend on one of the tours from the Alexandria area, so they try to travel together whenever they can. Before the pandemic, that is.

“I just enjoy scenery and how other people live,” Timm said. “I feel very fortunate for the things I’ve been able to do, the places I’ve been able to go.”

Otherwise, he tends to his three-acre lawn and goes out to coffee with his friends.

“I’m sure it’s always very important stuff,” Timm said. “Solve all the world’s problems.”

This is a part of "Friendly faces in familiar places," an occasional series telling the stories of the unique people that make up the Douglas County community through writing, photo and video. To nominate an individual to profile for this series, email Jasmine at jrjohnson@echopress.com.

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