Don Robert Timmel
Don Robert Timmel, 79, of Salina, Kan., passed away peacefully on Feb. 1, 2017, after a battle with Alzheimerís disease. Don, son of the late Leo and Stella Timmel, was born on Feb. 28, 1937, in Oconomowoc, and is the older brother of Sally Timmel of Claremont, Calif.
Don graduated from Oconomowoc High School in 1955 and then received a bachelorís degree in political science and history from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. He went on to pursue a law degree from Marquette University Law School, but left to join the Navy. LTJG Don attended the Naval Justice School and served as the legal officer in the Navy on board the USS Northhampton, JFKís ship, from 19621964. He was also in charge of making sure the presidential quarters were furnished.
After leaving the Navy, Don found himself back in Wisconsin, again studying law, when he met his wife, Bette (Freeman) Timmel. They were married in 1966 and recently celebrated their 50th anniversary.
Don started working at General Mills in 1966 in the purchasing department. He quickly began buying and selling grain and at one point was the buyer for the oats they used in Cheerios. Jobs with GM took them from Minneapolis, Minn., to Buffalo, N.Y., and back again before he accepted a job with GM in Kansas City. He was also a member of the Minneapolis and Kansas City Board of Trades. It was in Kansas City where Don became a father to their only child, Jennifer. In 1971 he became a partner with Wright-Lorenz Grain Company in Salina and the family moved.
Don always loved politics and made sure he was close to the elected officials from the area. He consistently made them aware of the issues plaguing farmers and the trends of the grain business both nationally and internationally.
Don was very active in the Salina community. He was past chairman of the Salina Arts and Humanities Commission and Smoky Hills Public Television station and past president of the Kansas Grain and Feed. Don was also a board member of the Salina Business Improvement District, Salina Downtown Inc., Salina Community Theatre, Salina Country Club, Salina Chamber of Commerce, Salina Presbyterian Manor, local banks and the Rotary Club of Salina. He was honored to be the vice chairperson for the Governor Graves 2000 Task Force on Agriculture and received the Sunflower Award in 2003 for Outstanding Contribution to Kansas Grain and Feed. It was during this time that he helped start the Rebel Wheat Tour, made up of grain buyers and sellers from around the world. He loved his time every year touring wheat fields with his good friends and making projections of the yearly yield and continued to meet with them through 2016.
After retiring from Wright-Lorenz Grain Co., Don enjoyed time with his grandkids: Lauren (19) and twin boys Zach and Jake (14). He loved his dog Tucker and spending time taking care of his yard. He treasured his time each week with his golf group and the time the families spent together. Don enjoyed the many trips he had with Bette, and met many new travel friends. He enjoyed their theater group, coffee group, his membership in Rotary and the German Car Club and the many friends he met all over Salina.
Don is survived by his wife, Bette Timmel; sister, Sally Timmel, of Claremont, Calif.; daughter, Jennifer Buchanan; son-in-law, Brad Buchanan; and grandchildren Lauren, Zach and Jake, all of Fort Collins, Colo.; and a host of amazing cousins and friends.
A service celebrating his life will be at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10 at First Presbyterian Church, 308 S. Eighth St., Salina, with the Rev. Dr. Charles Smith officiating. Inurnment will be held at La Belle Cemetery in Oconomowoc at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to: Salina Rotary, Salina Symphony, or First Presbyterian Church.
Ryan Mortuary, 137 N. 8th St., Salina, KS 67401, is in charge of arrangements.