Tim's Funeral

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Jun 24, 2009:

Click here for a Tribute to Tim from his colleagues at MidWest MedFlight.

The funeral for Tim was held in Dexter, MI in the old St Joseph's Catholic Church where filming for the movie "Conviction" took place several months earlier, starring Hilary Swank. Though Tim was not raised Catholic, his girlfriend is Catholic and this is the church he was attending. We weren't raised any particular denomination at all, and our Christian upbringing was limited to a fairly light immersion to Christianity.

The suit that I'd bought exactly 6 weeks earlier to the day he was killed, not knowing what I was buying it for, was worn to the funeral. The funeral itself was held just over 7 weeks to the day that I had bought the suit.

Some of the music played at the funeral came from a movie also starring Hilary Swank called "P.S. I Love You", which Tim had recently watched and had downloaded the soundtrack to his iPod.

One of the photos set to the music above and shown at the funeral was of a young Tim at 18 months old standing in front of a Bell 47 helicopter. Little did anyone know that 18 years later, this would be the first helicopter he would learn to fly! (View Pic)

He later went on to fly the Robinson R22, R44, Bell Jetranger, Bell Longranger, Bolkow 105, and the BK-117.

Having left NZ for the U.K. in May '98 to join the French Foreign Legion, and being talked out of it 6 months later, he found out about a job opportunity to become an apprentice aircraft mechanic with the promise of free helicopter flying lessons in Louisiana, USA.

Tim was more gifted than I think many of us realised, having a mix of technical, artistic and creative talents which manifested itself in computer programming (he programmed weight and balance software for the BK-117), computer animation, graphic design, writing and illustrating two children's books, photography, taking up ballroom dancing, enrolling in a preliminary paramedic course to learn more about his job, as well as becoming an FAA qualified airframe and powerplant mechanic, flight instructor and pilot! He certainly packed a lot into the last decade of his life!

One of the songs sung at the funeral, 'a capella' style by three nieces of Tim's girlfriend Terri, was the song "Angel" by Sarah McLachlan. It includes the lyrics, "You're in the arms of the angel" and "You are pulled from the wreckage". Very beautiful and very apt.

Interestingly, the official video for "Angel" was uploaded on September 9, 2008, Tim's final Birthday before he was killed 9 months later. (View Pic)

One of the clergymen at the funeral shared the same first two names as Tim - "Timothy John"! - and was the hospital chaplain at Ann Arbor's St Joseph Mercy hospital where Tim worked. He also later held the memorial for him one year later. The new helicopter that Tim had created a new design and colour scheme for, and which had been selected before he was killed, was also in attendance at the memorial.

As it happened, Tim interviewed for PHI Helicopters - the world's largest helicopter company on September 11, 2001 or 9/11 as it is commonly referred to - the day of the terrorist attacks on the USA. PHI contracted their helicopters and pilots to MidWest MedFlight whom he eventually went to work for in 2005. The registration of their new helicopter with Tim's new design was registered as N911TL, so it was quite an apt registration in more ways than one!

On the day of the funeral, inspired by Nicky Gumbel's story of his own father's death, and unbeknownst to us, Dad asked God about Tim's final state. Two days later he would have his response!


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