I met Tim only a couple of times at SCICEX meetings. What I remember about him, what stood out through our too-brief acquaintance, was his kindness. Just a few hours in a meeting room with him and I knew he was easy to work with, positive, and upbeat. This might sound like a small thing but it’s not. It seems that everyone who is a scientist or in science support, as I am, is a bit frayed around the edges these days. Tim’s personality and the willingness with which he shared his work brought me right back to why it’s wonderful to work with scientists, for science. I send my heartfelt sympathy to his family and many friends. Florence Fetterer
I love my brother Tim dearly. He was the one who could always make me laugh, even when I was in tears. He was witty, extremely bright, usually upbeat and always ready for adventure. He had a keen interest in almost everything and would never back down from a debate on any subject. He was an avid reader and shared good books with me. Tim also always had advice for me and could be a nag.
We had many adventures together over the years: hang gliding in Mexico, mountain biking in Oregon, hiking the Rockies, back country and telemark skiing in the Adirondacks, boating on Lake Ontario. Once while skiing at Whiteface mountain the lift stopped operating and Tim and I were stuck in the bitter cold. Tim commented “at least we’re stuck on this lift together.”
But Tim was not just an adventurer. He was a renowned scientist. He was a great dad, husband, son, brother, friend. He led one of the most interesting lives I’ve known.
Tim, I will always remember your kindness. I’ll remember, as a little girl, running to try to keep up with you as you speed walked along. I’ll remember your sense of humor. I’ll remember our many adventures. I’m proud of you for not just what you accomplished with your life, but also the person you were.
You’ll always be loved.
This last Saturday night, Feb. 16, in La Jolla, many of us who went to graduate school with Tim got together to remember him. Peter Shearer and Susan Green hosted, in their new home on the hill above Scripps, across the street from graduate student housing where they lived thirty years ago, and just down the street from Cindy Paden’s house where she threw those wonderful Halloween parties. Cindy was there too, and Mark Burnett and Carol, and Uwe Send and Nilmini. Dave Jacobs, Jerry Jacobs, Dan Rudnick and Laura Stokking were also there, and many others wanted to be there who couldn’t, but they were there in spirit. It was just like it was thirty years ago, and Tim would have loved it.
Peter put together a picture show, Susan provided desserts and wine, we all talked and laughed, got caught up, remembered. Conrad Van Bruggen called in, and Isaac Kim, and we passed around the phone. Mark made Irish coffee, in oceanographic style, as a 2-layered pousse-cafe. Dave told of the hikes. Peter told of the climbs. Dan told of King Neptune’s Royal Court, and of the University of Washington years. Uwe told of living with Tim, and of camping with Nilmini and Tim and Cat and all the kids. What would Tim have told? We would have loved to hear.
Mark made a toast to Tim, over shots from a special bottle of Oban single malt scotch whisky 18 years old limited edition, a gift received some six months before in return for a musical favor. To Tim… We all love him, and we miss him.
We smiled for pictures, and before we knew it, we were watching Peter’s 1985 oceanographic classic, “Bag IGPP”, starring Tim and us! We loved it. And Tim would have loved it too.
I know Tim professionally from interactions with him relative to Arctic oceanography. I first met him during the initial SCICEX program in the 1990s and have conversed with him at many SCICEX and other Arctic meetings since. His input at numerous planning meetings we attended over the years was always well informed, enthusiastic and positive. His enthusiasm and positive attitude were contagious and brought people together. He has made important contributions to our understanding of how the Arctic Ocean works through both his scientific analysis of data collected from the Arctic and his ability to work with others to plan and execute important field programs to collect the data we need to gain this understanding. He is also one of the most pleasant persons I have ever met and I always enjoyed his company. I will miss him. My sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. Bill Smethie
I met Tim last year at sea on the Discovery, he had the desk space next to me in the lab. He was such a lovely person with a twinkle in his eyes always cracking witty jokes with anyone willing to share a laugh. One of his quotes I can lively remember which made us laugh for days after was “Dude, it’s 0 dark thirty”. Tim came out with it when talking about the early morning shift he was on (midnight to 4am). Another funny memory was him cutting the profile cable after it had got tangled with his pen-knife – the technicians confiscated it and was he jokingly teased for rest of the cruise whether he had found anything else to cut or to break. On many an occasion he spoke so incredibly fondly about his family and it was so apparent how much he loved them. Several times on late night lab sessions Tim patiently helped me decipher incomprehensive differential equations and hence contributed to me passing my first year of my PhD. To me Tim was not only a great scientist but also a really really nice person and an inspiration for life. I feel very lucky to have met him. Thanks Tim!
Sophie (Bangor PhD Student)
I came to know Tim the way I have come to know so many in the far-flung, but strangely close-knit oceanographic community. Large meetings and interactions on common interests introduced us at first. Thereafter, we worked together on planning for submarine observations in the Arctic. Tim was always a refreshing face after a long haul to a meeting or at the end of a tiring day. I can’t imagine anyone who knew him not feeling that a piece of their own life has passed with him. He spoke of his daughters often and glowingly and I hope I meet them and his wife some day to tell them personally how privileged I am to have known him. Sincerely, Ray Sambrotto
Autonomous Vessels for International Polar Year Studies in the Ross Sea, Antarctica
Example of Tim’s scientific work
Tim and I shared an office from the time he came to SAMS until I retired about 9 months before his untimely death. He was a lovely man, who had a boyish and endearing enthusiasm about him and who was always a pleasure to be with.
Kerry and I had a special name for him at home since there was more than one Tim at SAMS. We called him ‘Tigger Tim’ or just ‘Tigger’ after the Winnie the Pooh character who was so full of bounce and ‘likes everything’. I grew to love Tim as a friend, and I shall miss him greatly. May he rest in peace.