Spending 66 years in Bangladesh made him feel like a citizen of the country
Former principal of Notre Dame College and a US national, Father Richard William Timm, had wished to die in Bangladesh, according to one of his former colleagues.
Bertha Gity Baroi, director of Corr-The Jute Works (CJW), said so, recalling Father Timm and mourning his demise.
Gity said: “Whenever anyone met with Father in the US, since he returned there in 2014/15, he would say, ‘let me die on Bangladesh soil; bury me there’.”
Spending 66 years in Bangladesh made him feel like a citizen of the country, she said.
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On her last meeting with him at the 40th founding anniversary of Caritas Bangladesh in 2014, Gity said: “He talked with a passion, as if Bangladesh was his own country where he spent the days of his youth, applying all his energy, potential, courage, and humanitarian zeal, until his old age.”
Father Timm, also a former principal of and superior of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Dhaka, breathed his last on Friday afternoon (US local time) at the Holy Cross House in South Bend, Indiana, of the US. He was 97 years old.
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“At the event he was terribly ill and had hearing issues, among other medical conditions. He was also drowsy, and he could hardly speak in his tiredness,” she said. “But he insisted that the work continue in his absence.”
Gity worked with him for 11 years at Caritas Bangladesh, since 1988, before joining Corr.
“All the 11 years, I found him to be a remarkably simple man with the characteristics of an ordinary volunteer. But, after moving to Corr, I discovered a strange phenomenon. He was actually a great soul-- something I never knew while in Caritas,” she said.
With his deteriorating health and physical condition, Father Timm moved to the US in late 2014.
In post-Liberation WarBangladesh , he tried to help provide relief on a large scale and thought of making the women of the country self-reliant, the Corr official said.
He went to villages--even those in the remotest of areas-- to train women in handicrafts for their financial emancipation, Gity added.