Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Moment of being serious about a very good man

A very good friend of mine, and a friend of all UFOlogy, died this past Sunday in Ohio.

John had been fading for several years now and his passing was doubtless a blessing ... but the world just seems a little grayer knowing that such a good guy is no longer living here with us.

John was Treasurer for CUFOS and I sat with him through many arduous board meetings as we fought the near-impossible task of getting the Center through one year after another. Like any good Treasurer, the highlight of every meeting was John fussing endlessly over the check at the restaurant for the Saturday evening meal --- it was our standing joke.

John, as many of you know, spent literally years taking the CUFOS photo exhibit all over North America [and occasionally beyond] making needed cash for the Center, and collecting the most fascinating array of case reports from passing exhibit viewers. I called his audiotapes and transcripts of his interviews "The Timmerman Files" and they were the richest raw case materials I'd ever read. John knew that he would never write these cases up, and they risked being lost. He and I decided that I'd give him a piece of his lifelong dream, and publish his work as a book, Grass-Roots UFOs. Writing that book for John was the finest thing that I ever did in UFOlogy, as it made him so happy.

John has shot up and passed the Pearly Gates by now [probably one of the persons that I've known who St. Peter didn't need to check his bona fides], and knows the answers to UFOs. Hopefully those answers have given him smiles and good laughs.

This next thing is probably nothing, but I mention it anyway. John died on Sunday [I don't know when]. I was sitting in my bedroom here in the new house on that day reading. There was a rather loud crash. Looking around for an explanation, I spotted the set of five pictures that I have on my wall to represent the five main directions of my life {Catholic Spirituality, Family, Explorations, Science/Teaching, and UFOs/CUFOS}. One of those five had chosen to fall off the wall with the clatter. Guess which one.

Did John pay a last visit to an old friend on his way up the Light Tunnel?

I wouldn't put it past him.

Love you, John.


  1. Indeed a very nice bloke as we say here in OZ. Only meet him the once when I stayed overnight at Allen Hynek's home back in 1984. It was great to see the Grass Roots UFOs book you did - a great tribute to John's persistence. It was only a few months ago I came across the Darryl Barker interview with John dated Deceember 14, 1999. It was fascinating watching the interview and hearing John's take on the UFO mystery. Mike, your lovely tribute to him was great to see.

  2. Hello Prof,

    You've written a fine obituary for John Timmerman and your book has ensured a legacy for his interest in the mysteries. We (the readers) sometimes forget that 'ufologists' have lives that extend way past our own interests and he will have left behind a greater legacy in the minds of his family and friends. Nevertheless the contents of Grassroots have left an abiding impression on me and that's also a minimal aspect of how his life impacted on diverse people.

    With regards to your anecdote of the picture falling, my friend's mother died this year; she's still raw and coming to terms with it. We were recently talking about the funeral and I told her about a single seagull that was flying above the grave on what was a freezing, wind-swept and emotional day. It was in the small hours and we looked up to see a lone seagull hove into view above us. I don't know what hours the average seagull keeps and don't plan on finding out. It appeared at the right time and lent some meaning to a moment that was full of sadness. In that light, who cares if it was coincidence or not?

    Your falling picture and the deer in the garden resonate with you and that's enough isn't it? Such moments are meaningful.

  3. I visited with John twice in his home in Lakeview and though I wouldn't have guessed it possible, the second time I was even more touched by his kindness and generosity of spirit than the first. John was one of those people who who become an instant friend even though you may never see them again. I'm sure he will be well and fondly remembered by many.

  4. John is. When he retired from CUFOS, we created a phoney IUR edition with him on the cover and "celebratory roast" type articles inside. I can't imagine us doing anything like that for anyone else. As usual with John, he thought that the thing was funny, but objected to one place in a bogus exhibit interview where I inserted a {brief} remark by the interviewee which he felt was sacrilegious. John, gentleman to the end.

  5. I am sad to hear this news. I met John in Paulding Ohio at a crop circle in 1996. I worked with him on several UFO cases as I was a MUFON FI(Mongo, Indiana). Your photo coming off the wall was no accident. John was saying farewell. I have had these moments myself..He will be missed.♥

  6. My condolences. I recognize his name, probably from reading at the Cufos site. He must have loved chasing the Big Mystery to do that for so long. I can't believe I don't have a copy of Grassroots Ufos in my library. I'm going down to the coolest little bookstore to get one in his honor.---Mrs. C

    1. You'll love it ... not because of my writing but because of the nearly unending wonder of the people's experiences. What a treasurehouse of amazing things he uncovered.



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