Tim’s Early Years: From College to

Caretaker

Tim’s Early Years: From College to Caretaker

Tim breezes through the details of the first part of his life as if he’s scrolling through his personal Wikipedia page: Born in Houston. Grew up in San Antonio. Studied and played baseball at Texas A&M University. Spent a brief stint in the Air Force after college. Married his wife, Liz, and settled in Austin, where they raised three kids. Fell into insurance by chance but was skilled enough to start his own agency and run it for more than 30 years.

“It was just one of those things that happens to you,” says Tim of his accidental career. “You don’t necessarily think about it.”

It was a nice life. It was simple. Tim and Liz, a teacher, “started with next to nothing” when they got hitched in 1960, he says. But as the decades went on and their family and success grew, they enjoyed the many fruits of their labor. They were both diehard sports fans who rooted for their beloved A&M Aggies, and Liz knew “more about football than 90 percent of guys,” he says.

They loved competing with friends in various activities, visiting their grandkids, and even sweating together—she was an early proponent of Jazzercise and eventually hooked him too. 

“We had a good run … we really did,” Tim says. “It’s just too bad she got sick.”

In 1994, Liz battled breast cancer and beat it. But in 2006, it returned. This time the disease moved rapidly, and doctors told her she didn’t have much time to live. Tim became her caretaker and prayed for a miracle.

“Usually, though, it just doesn’t work like that,” he says. In December 2007, a year and a half after her diagnosis, Liz passed away.

“It’s very troubling to watch a loved one die,” Tim says. “A lot of times, it can be physically taxing on the caregiver.”

While Tim attempted to stay mentally and physically fit during Liz’s fight, he felt himself sliding. Despite engaging in regular strength workouts, Tim put on 25 pounds and fell into a depression.

“Sometimes when you’re really close to someone, you don’t see the full picture until they’re gone,” he says. “I guess I didn’t realize how much I missed Liz until I got further down the road after she passed away. She was so optimistic, enthusiastic, and vibrant. I miss that in my life, because I don’t have anyone like that anymore. We really balanced each other out.”