The Timerman Family
The Ralph W. and I. Elizabeth Timerman Memorial Scholarship was established in 1981 by the family of the late Ralph W. Timerman to recognize his lifelong interest in education and community service. The two-year scholarship is awarded preferably to a student from the Town of Orleans (the LaFargeville Central School District) studying full-time at Jefferson Community College. It is administered the second year only if the recipient maintains satisfactory academic standing.
Mr. Timerman was born on December 27, 1915, at Orleans Corners in the Town of Orleans on the farm where he lived his entire life. His father, Claude Timerman, died September 6, 1934, at 44 of injuries received in an automobile accident in Indianapolis, Ind., while returning home after attending the Chicago World’s Fair. His mother, Jeannette Fleming Timerman, died November 21, 1933, at 45. With his parents’ deaths, Mr. Timerman and his two sisters were placed in the care of family members. He attended LaFargeville High School and graduated from Theresa High School in 1936. As a teenager, he worked in a grocery store to earn spending money.
In 1938, he graduated from Canton Agricultural and Technical College (now the State University College of Technology at Canton) in Canton, New York. For two years, in 1940 and 1941, Mr. Timerman was a civilian employee with the Army Corps of Engineers at Pine Camp (now Fort Drum), supervising construction of the airport.
He married Ida Elizabeth Tenney of Theresa, an elementary school teacher, on June 27, 1940. The couple raised three children, instilling in them the values of hard work and neighborliness.
During World War II, the Timermans had a large flock of chickens and sold eggs. Mrs. Timerman was asked by her husband to take care of the flock, but she did not like the task and egg production dropped. However, when Mr. Timerman returned to the duty, egg production rose. Mrs. Timerman suspected that her husband’s success was partly due to the fact that he talked to the chickens while he fed them. Actually, she recalled, he enjoyed all the animals on the farm and showered them with attention.
In the 1950’s, the Timermans added a beef cattle herd to the dairy-business.
In 1956, Mr. Timerman rebuilt and expanded the main dairy barn after a fire caused $40,000 in damages. Neighbors offered to help, and, in later years, he was quick to return the favor. When a neighbor was unable to milk his cows for several months due to poor health, Mr. Timerman took over the milking until the neighbor’s health was restored.
Mr. Timerman was active in local politics for nearly 30 years. In 1964, he was elected supervisor of the Town of Orleans, a post he held until his death in 1981. He was unanimously elected chair of the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors for the 1976-77 term.
An eight-year board member of the LaFargeville Central School District, Mr. Timerman was assessor for the Town of Orleans from 1952 to 1967, and a member of the Town of Orleans board. He served on numerous other boards and committees, including the Jefferson County Planning Board, the Farm Credit board of directors and the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority. He had been vice-chair of the board of the Black River-St. Lawrence Regional Planning Board.
He represented Jefferson County at a May 1978 conference to establish the Adirondack-North Country Economic Council.
Mr. Timerman served as president of the Federal Land Bank Association. He was presented a citation in 1972 recognizing his years of service as a director of the Land Bank and Production Credit Associations.
He was a member of the New York Beef Cattlemen’s Association, the LaFargeville Volunteer Fire Department, Masonic Lodge 171 in LaFargeville and the International Order of Odd Fellows. He was also a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Orleans in Four Corners.
Mr. Timerman had a variety of interests. A member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, he held a private pilot’s license and owned a small plane. He also enjoyed music, playing the saxophone in a dance band in college and the organ in his later years.
After selling the dairy herd in 1968, the Timermans traveled around the country by car and private plane. They also enjoyed Caribbean cruises.
Mr. Timerman died February 24, 1981, after chasing some beef cattle that had trampled over a fence on his property. He died as he wished, literally ‘with his boots on.’
In a Watertown Daily Times editorial soon after his death, Mr. Timerman was praised as an ‘honest, dedicated, concerned man’ who ‘conducted his public life with deep pride.’ In 1983, the Northern New York Agricultural Historical Society dedicated its new dairy products promotion building at the Stone Mills Agricultural Museum to his memory.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, three children, seven grandchildren and a great-grandchild. The Timerman farm is now operated by his son, Ralph, who returned it to dairy farm status.
The Jefferson Community College Foundation is grateful to the Timerman family for creating the Ralph W. and I. Elizabeth Timerman Memorial Scholarship.