Rev. Richard W. Timm, C.S.C.

Rev. Richard W. Timm, C.S.C.
March 2, 1923-September 11, 2020

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Rev. Richard W. Timm, C.S.C., 97, died at Holy Cross House, Notre Dame, Ind., on Friday, September 11, 2020.

Watch his Funeral Mass via YouTube here.

He was born March 2, 1923, in Michigan City, Ind., to Joseph and Josephine (Otten) Timm. After grade school and high school at St. Mary’s in Michigan City, Ind., he entered Holy Cross Seminary and the University of Notre Dame in 1940. He made First Vows on August 16, 1942, taking the fourth vow of foreign missions. After novitiate, he went to Holy Cross College in Washington, D.C. for theology, then the Foreign Mission Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 8, 1949.

After ordination, Fr. Timm traveled to Dhaka, Bangladesh and joined the newly established Notre Dame College. Then, as a visiting professor in the department of nematology at the University of California, Davis, he taught for two years and helped out on weekends in parishes. During this time, he spent more than two months in Antarctica and discovered several new species of nematodes. Among them is the Marine Nematode “Timmia parva”, named after Fr. Timm himself!

In 1970, Fr. Timm had just returned as principal of Notre Dame College, Bangladesh when a cyclone and tidal surge caused widespread damage and casualties. He performed relief work on Manpura Island, the worst affected area, then was invited to direct a rehabilitation program on the island.

Fr. Timm was very active in direct service to the people of Bangladesh through his involvement in Caritas, the Bishops’ organization for welfare and development. He served a 24-year term as executive secretary of the Commission for Justice and Peace; and, in 1987, received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for International Understanding; a very prestigious award referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Asia”. From 1984 to 2009, he served as chaplain for the Missionaries of Charity and the Holy Cross Sisters. He also served for over 25 years as chaplain to the Baby Home and House of Compassion run by Mother Theresa’s Sisters. Fr. Timm moved to Holy Cross House in 2017.

Fr. Timm served in Bangladesh for some 65 years. As his confrères in Bangladesh have said, Father Timm “was a legend of Bangladesh, an internationally renowned zoologist, discoverer of at least 250 nematodes, an educationist, a human development worker, a friend of Bangladesh, author of many books and publications, Magsaysay winner, and so on. Most importantly, he was a Catholic priest and member of the Congregation of Holy Cross.”

Preceding him in death are Fr. Timm’s parents, Joseph and Josephine Timm, his brother Robert, and his sisters Mary Jo Schiel and Genevieve Gantner.

The Funeral Mass will be at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, September 18, 2020, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Ind. Please join us via livestream at Burial will be in the community cemetery at Notre Dame. Kaniewski Funeral Home, South Bend, is in charge of the arrangements.

Memorial contributions in support of the mission and ministries of the Congregation of Holy Cross can be made to: United States Province of Priests and Brothers, Office of Development, P.O. Box 765, Notre Dame, IN 46556-0765 or online at

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