Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 26, 2012

Ruth Timmermann


TRAVERSE CITY — Ruth Timmermann of Traverse City, and formerly of DeWitt, N.Y. and Chapel Hill, N.C. died peacefully Nov. 19, surrounded by her loving family. Ruth was born on Sept. 26, 1925 in East McKeesport, Pa. to Charles Garfield Schwartz and Sara Helen Meese Schwartz.

As a child she regularly worked in her father's pharmacy, handling leeches instead of attending school. She attended the College of Wooster but transferred to the University of Wisconsin after her playful decision to place a USO "Servicemen Welcome" sign in front of her dorm went unappreciated. She received her bachelor of arts degree in 1947. Ruth attended the University of Wisconsin Law School but was discouraged about her prospects as a woman attorney.

Ruth married fellow Badger Paul Timmermann on Oct. 2, 1948 beginning a sweet and loving relationship that lasted 60 years until Paul's death in 2008. They settled in DeWitt, N.Y. and lived in the area for over 20 years. In 1974 Ruth graduated from Syracuse University with a masters degree in education. She taught both children and teachers and later worked as a career counselor. Having experienced the Great Depression, she was proudly financially and politically savvy and independent. She enjoyed duplicate bridge and working on her loom.

Ruth was President of the Syracuse Metropolitan League of Women Voters (LWV) and she served on the LWV New York State Board and was a member of the Syracuse Round Table. She shared her unique sense of humor and fun with friends and neighbors by, for example, encouraging dinner guests to write on the dinning room wall so that Paul would agree to replace the wallpaper. Always looking to gather friends, she once hosted a birthday party for adults in honor of her dog. She was a regular Halloween trick-or-treater.

After Paul retired, the two of them moved to Chapel Hill, where she remained active in LWV. There, she joined PEO, a women's group supporting women's education. Due to health issues, they moved to Traverse City where she occasionally planted a festive costumed mannequin in her condo's elevator. She lovingly cared for Paul during his decline due to Alzheimer's and she cofounded "Hymn Sing" at the The Cottages when Paul resided there. She maintained a great sense of style and savvy. Despite significant visual impairment and having survived cancer twice, she continued to exhibit strength, independence and a great sense of humor. She was magnanimous, loving, and hilarious until the very end of her life.

She is survived by her daughter Ann Smith (Mark), her son Paul Timmermann (Ronda); grandchildren Owen (Farley), Colin (Sara), and Jesse Smith and Elizabeth, Marta, and Kyle Timmermann; great grandchildren Madison and Matthew Smith; her sister Lorraine Sachse; and many nieces, nephews and their children.

In celebration of her life, there will be a private family gathering. Friends are encouraged to join in a celebration with family and friends on Dec. 1 between 12 and 1:30 p.m. at 141 River's Edge. In lieu of flowers, you might consider honoring Ruth with a donation to one of her favorite charities: Munson Hospice House (1105 6th Street, Traverse City Mi 49684) and Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy (3860 North Long Lake Road, Traverse City MI 49684).

The family is being served by Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. Please visit to share your thoughts and memories with Ruth's family.