In Loving Memory of Timothy Neuer
Whenever someone is lost unexpectedly, especially someone as young and vibrant as Tim, friends and family tend towards hyperbole. We often hear that the departed was the kindest, the happiest, and the most selfless person they knew. We hear that “it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.” It’s understandable, but in this case, and I’m sure most of us would agree… it’s true. Tim was one of the most selfless, kind and… happy people on the planet. He radiated joy. He was the life of every party, even if it that party was just the two of us. Whenever I was with him, I was either laughing, or on the verge of it. And he made sure of it, with his wit, wise cracks and utterly defenseless arguments.
I remember thinking Tim would make a fantastic lawyer. He was always so animated, excitable, and definitive when he spoke. His hands flapped around like an air traffic controller… his words left his lips in a bold, underlined CAPS LOCK. Whether he was right or wrong, he’d argue until he was blue in the face that ants didn’t sleep. Or that there’s no way in hell that a human can outrun an alligator.
I’ll never forget that one night at Willi’s Wine Bar. Tim had ordered a kabob of some sort, and was using his fork to rip the chicken off the skewer. Mandy, smart thing that she is said, “Why don’t you just slide the meat off the end like you’re supposed to.” Without missing a beat, or even thinking about what was about to come out of his mouth, Tim said, “You’re not supposed to slide it off the end. You’re supposed to rip it off. That’s what the skewer is for. It tenderizes the meat.” I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at the inanity of his argument. But I couldn’t resist loving him for it either. I’d often leave our conversations and make a bee line to my computer, Googling whatever fun facts Tim just dropped. Oftentimes to find, as I suspected, that Tim could be full of shit. Not that I ever minded or that it mattered. I adored his spirited banter.
I also loved his country boy sense of adventure. One night in Cloverdale, under a full moon, Tim, Thomas and I all piled onto Tim’s new ATV, and whipped up and down, back and forth across the Russian River. Sure, I was a little uncomfortable hugging Tim tight around the waist, but it beat sitting on the front of the machine like Thomas. My theory was proven correct when Thomas fell off the front and Tim ran him over. When Thomas yelled, “I didn’t spill my beer!” we knew he was okay. And though he was unscathed all of our stomachs hurt from laughing so hard. To this day, it stands out as one of the most fun and exciting nights in my Sonoma County life.
But the thing that will always stick with me was his outrageous love and devotion to Mandy. Tim adored Mandy. He glowed when he spoke of her, his smile as bright as a Christmas tree. He valued what they had. And if anyone needed proof of his devotion, look no further than his growing brood of pets. Tim didn’t really like cats. He was unabashedly a dog man. How he loved his Chief. But Mandy, she loved cats. (Along with every other animal). And she had a suspicious knack for finding stray kittens “down by the river” or “at our front door.” I was there twice when Tim returned to find a newborn kitten on his couch. I never knew if she really found them or brought them back from the pound, but each time, she’s beg him to keep it, and each time he’d grumble, maybe piss and moan for a few, before invariably crumbling and caving in. The fact is, he loved Mandy so much he’d do anything to make her happy. Even if it meant playing daddy to cats. He was a romantic through and through, and my heart breaks for his one true love.
I want to say to Mandy, your strength these past weeks has been incredible, but when it falters, please know that all of us will be there to catch you. Any time of day or night. We’ll be here for you as you carry on his legacy.
I’d like to end by saying that Tim was a ray of light. I’m sure that his sunny disposition and infectious optimism touched everyone in this room. And though the world feels a whole lot darker because of this loss, I trust that he will shine on forever our hearts, minds and memories. I love you Tim. May God bless your soul.