VAIL — Just before the start of Friday’s memorial service for Joe Timlin, and just for a few moments, Donovan Pavilion was utterly silent, save the soft strains of Bob Marley’s music on the building’s sound system. But Rabbi Dovid Mintz urged the hundreds in attendance to break that silence with song — Timlin’s song.
Timlin, 32, was killed along with friends Chris Peters and Ryan Novack, Ian Lamphere and Rick Gauke, in an April 20 backcountry avalanche on Loveland Pass
Mintz, who officiated at the service told the story of a 16th century Jewish scribe, who, when asked by his pupils what to do on the day of a funeral, said the proper response is to be silent, to cry and to sing.
Mintz said, “We all create our own song, our own music.” Timlin taught his own song to those who knew him, Mintz said, and the best way for those people to honor his memory is to sing that song.
That song includes love, compassion, devotion and beauty, Mintz said. But as friends and family members spoke about Timlin, it became clear that song included plenty of boisterous volume, too.
Little brother Chris recalled being called down to Joe’s room more than once, only to be greeted by a quick mooning from big brother. And older sister Kelly noted that Joe could usually figure out a way to blame her for something he’d planned.
Joe’s mother Joy recalled a Christmas day church service when she was giving communion to the congregation at their church. There was a loud “thunk” when little Joe — and his new stuffed “Star Wars” Ewok doll — had fallen out of a pew.
“We went to the hospital that day,” she said.
But Timlin also had a way with people, from the keep-to-themselves neighbors who 3-year-old Joe soon was spending big parts of his day with, to a backup goalie for the St. Louis Blues who gave him a stick the night his youth hockey team played before an NHL game in the Minnesota North Stars’ home arena.
He also had a way with Krissy Sprinkle, who soon became Krissy Sprinkle-Timlin.
Greg Ladow, a best friend since the two were boys, recalled that after Timlin first met Krissy, he burst into his friend’s room, declaring he’d just met the woman he would marry.
The wooing process was helped by the fact that Krissy lived across the street. A bit of careful window-watching meant Timlin could just happen to walk his dog the same time Krissy walked hers.
Timlin’s song also includes his open-hearted kindness.
“He made everything he touched better,” sister Kelly said.
And, despite the big-brother antics, baby-brother Chris said his brother was “always there for me.”
“’Loyalty’ is the first word I kept writing down,” Chris said.
That loyalty was repaid, over and over again, by friends, family and even those who only knew Timlin a bit.
Timlin’s song also includes his passion for just about everything having to do with the outdoors, from golf to fishing to mountain biking and camping. But snowboarding sat at the top of that list, from an early age.
Ladow recalled how he and Timlin would ditch school and cram into a friend’s two-seat car to go riding on powder days. And his passion for the sport — which Ladow introduced to his friend — led Timlin to working as a sales representative for YES snowboards, a company partly owned by brother-in-law David Porchern.
But the passion Timlin brought to so much of his life burned even brighter for Krissy.
“Meeting and loving Krissy changed his life,” sister Kelly said.
Sister-in-law Megan Pischke, supporting Krissy at the podium as both spoke, said Timlin “embraced Krissy with everything he had — it was magical.”
And Krissy’s passion for Timlin still burns brightly.
Speaking through tears, but standing tall, Krissy said she was only able to speak at the memorial because of the strength Joe still gives her.
It’s quite a song, really.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.