Jerome Micheal Tymrak of Bishop and Campbellton, passed to larger life on Aug. 31, 2020. He was born Sept. 30, 1946, to John and Elizabeth Tymrak of Jourdanton. As the oldest of eight children, Jerome grew up on the family row-crop and livestock farm with two sisters and five brothers. At the age 10, his dad would put him on a Model A John Deere “popping Johnny” tractor plowing fields all day and tell him, “Don’t stop till it runs out of gas.” Agriculture was imprinted onto Jerome from an early age and it continued to his last days as a teacher and a rancher.
Jerome graduated from Jourdanton High School in 1964 and began his university studies at Texas A&I University the spring semester of 1965. He was a member/officer in the Aggie Club and Collegiate FFA and made the Dean’s List his senior year. Jerome had great admiration and respect for his university professors, especially agricultural mechanics professor Paul Chilen. Jerome’s high-school ag teacher George McAllister and Paul Chilen were responsible for Jerome’s success as an agricultural mechanics educator. His involvement with the university he loved came full circle in 2017 when he was honored as the Kleberg College of Agriculture’s Hall of Honor Alumnus and in 2019 when he was named Distinguished Alumnus by the Texas A&I Alumni Association.
He received his BS degree in Agricultural Education from Texas A&I University in 1969 and began his teaching career at Rio Hondo ISD. Later that year, he married the love of his life, Ruth Elizabeth McAda of Campbellton on Dec. 27, 1969.
After teaching at Rio Hondo for three years, he started a decorated 27-year career with Banquete ISD. During his tenure at Banquete, his students received many awards, college scholarships, and accolades. Five of his students were elected to serve as State FFA Officers, unheard of for a small school with only one ag teacher. One of those state officers was his daughter Beth, born to Ruth and him in 1977.
After retiring from Banquete ISD in 1999, he began a 20-year college teaching career, first with Coastal Bend College and 19 years with Texas A&M-Kingsville. His passion for teaching agricultural mechanics shone during those two decades. He received the TAMUK College of Agriculture Advising Award twice and was a five-time recipient of the Texas A&M University System Chancellor’s Outstanding Teaching Award. He loved a young person and took very personally his responsibility to teach them skills that would last them for a lifetime. By any measure, he was a success in that regard.
FFA opened the world to Jerome while a student at Jourdanton High School. He had a non-stop 60-year love affair with FFA as a student, advisor, long-time coordinator for Area X FFA, judge for innumerable district, area, state, and national FFA competitions, part of the team that developed the first computerized record book program for Ag Science/FFA programs in Texas, state swine validation chair, state FFA scholarship and advanced degree chair, and as an ag mechanics judge for every major competition in the state of Texas. He recognized FFA as a way for young people to further hone the lessons taught in class and from their animal and ag mechanics projects and challenge themselves to be better.
Jerome believed in service to his community. After retiring from Banquete ISD, he was elected to two three-year terms on the Banquete ISD Board of Trustees, serving two years as board president. He was a charter member and 10-year president of the Banquete Lions Club. He served 25 years on the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show, including eight years as board president. The 2017 NCJLS was dedicated to him in recognition of his years of tireless service. He served within his own professional organizations, including 17 years on the board of the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas and six years on the board of the Texas FFA Association.
He received more awards than can be listed, including almost every award that FFA can confer upon a member and an advisor. Those awards were only by-products of his driving passion-to teach a child or young adult a valuable skill. His two favorite students were his last two, his grandsons JD and Brock Sartwelle. Beth and her family moved to the family ranch in Campbellton in 2016, and from that point Jerome held class every day for his much-loved grandsons. The three of them identified grasses, built fence, tended to cattle, and loved every minute they spent together.
Jerome Tymrak is survived by his wife Ruth, daughter and son-in-law Beth and Jim Sartwelle, III, of Campbellton; grandsons JD and Brock Sartwelle, his mother, Elizabeth Tymrak of La Parita; sisters (and brothers-in-law), Katherine (Mike) Norwood of Jourdanton and Mildred (Jim) Hogg of Dripping Springs; brothers (and sisters-in-law) Johnny (Lois) Tymrak of Medina Lake, Jimmy (Jan) Tymrak of Alice, Bobby (Becky) Tymrak of Jourdanton, Mark Tymrak of La Parita, and Lawrence (Sharon) Tymrak of Jourdanton, aunt and uncle, Mary and Wesley Tymrak of Jourdanton, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, infant sister Margaret Mary, and sister-in-law Diane Tymrak.
The family received visitors at Hurley Funeral Home at 118 West Oaklawn in Pleasanton at 5 p.m. and Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. A reading of the rosary followed at 7 p.m. The service of Christian burial took place at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 1608 West Campbell Avenue in Jourdanton at 9 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. Interment will followed at the Campbellton Cemetery. Serving as pallbearers are Jerome’s grandsons and brothers. Honorary pallbearers are all Area X agricultural science teachers and his former students. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Richard M. Borchardt Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown at 2 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 13.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Jerome’s honor be made to the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Foundation, memo line Jerome M. Tymrak Memorial Scholarship, 700 University Blvd. MSC 173, Kingsville, TX, 78363 or online at www.javelinagiving.org/tymrakmemorial or the NCJLS Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 260968, Corpus Christi, TX, 78426.