Timothy Mark Hermetz (December 24, 1958 - October 9, 2013)
Timothy Mark Hermetz, 54, of Cullman, Ala., entered into the Eternal Kingdom of Everlasting Peace on Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013. Mr. Hermetz died at home in hospice care and surrounded by family after a four-year battle with Stage IV malignant peritoneal mesothelioma.
Mr. Hermetz was born on December 24, 1958, in New Orleans, La. and lived in five states over the course of his life. He graduated from Cullman High School where he was active in track, drama and the swim team, was the sophomore class president and a member of the class of 1977. He later attended Troy State University after being awarded the George C. Wallace Leadership Scholarship, and there he coached swimming, served as president of three student organizations and worked as a TV reporter and news anchor.
In 1983 Mr. Hermetz moved to Montgomery to work as an Alabama Law Institute intern, and later, administrative assistant to Alabama House Speaker Tom Drake of Cullman in the fourth and final administration of Gov. George C. Wallace, his Troy University scholarship namesake.
In the 1980s, Mr. Hermetz lived in Washington, D.C. where he worked on Capitol Hill as an intern for U.S. Senator Howell Heflin and as administrative assistant to the president of the Orphan Foundation of America. He later worked at Georgetown University Hospital and at Arnold & Porter (D.C.'s largest law firm). In D.C., he continued a career in television as a post-production supervisor for five national TV shows including the PBS program Living with Animals and the Humane Society of the United States' national public television show Pet Action Line.
In 1988, Mr. Hermetz returned to Alabama to work in Cullman and Birmingham doing local and statewide public relations and marketing for The Equitable Financial Companies. He worked several years as a tutor of at-risk middle school students in Cullman and Morgan Counties. Mr.Hermetz served as Cullman correspondent for the Birmingham Post-Herald and was later hired to promote Wallace State Community College.
In 1991, Mr. Hermetz served as a coordinator of Project Little Lamb for Russian Families, a local Christian mission organization helping relocate families to Alabama for cancer care. He worked with pediatric leukemia patients whom he helped get medical treatment at Children's Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham.
For 10 years, Mr. Hermetz worked for Burning Tree Country Club in Decatur as a restaurant and banquet manager. Over the course of his career, Mr. Hermetz was also employed by Walmart Distribution, Cullman Regional Medical Center (CRMC) and by Drinkard Development, Inc.'s president and CEO Roy Drinkard.
He was a lifelong active member of St.Paul's Lutheran Church congregation. He sat on the Board of Commissioners for the Cullman Housing Authority and was a member of the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce. He was acting president of the Troy State Alumni Association and a Kiwanis Club board member. He enjoyed participating in Oktoberest and his cancer support group at CRMC. He was an avid photographer and journalist for many years, winning numerous photo contests and awards, freelancing and by-lining articles for various media outlets.
Mr. Hermetz was passionate about health and fitness. He enjoyed being active in a local gym, aerobics, kickboxing, swimming and kept a vegetarian diet for some time prior to a series of knee and ankle injuries which limited his mobility. For more than 20 years, he attended seminars, read books, viewed videos and participated in more than a dozen clinical research trials to promote health, while helping doctors at pharmaceutical companies find new treatments for disease. He dedicated a large portion of his life to teaching and preaching wellness. For decades, he enjoyed mentoring, encouraging and leading people to live healthier lives. Even before his cancer diagnosis in 2009, he was an advocate for cancer awareness, research, fundraising and the fight for a cure. His strength, perseverance and courageous fight against the disease during his personal cancer journey was an example and inspiration to others.
Mr. Hermetz participated in the American Cancer Society (ACS)'s Cullman County Relay for Life annually as a fundraiser and survivor, and was a member of his mother and cancer survivor Myrna Hermetz's team. Mr. Hermetz was chosen as a Life Inspiration Award recipient for "Survivor of the Year" in 2010 and was nominated by ACS as a "Hero of Hope" motivational speaker in 2012.
For the past four years, Mr. Hermetz was a terminal cancer patient and clinical trial volunteer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, where he helped the world's largest medical research facility make important medical discoveries to improve health and save lives. His NIH treatment was supported locally by the Cullman Oncology Center team at CRMC.
He was preceded in death by his father, Rev. Harold Hermetz. Through his life, he was sustained by his faith in God, and is now survived by his mother, Mrs. Myrna Hermetz, of Cullman; his siblings: Toni Hermetz Treadway (Ronnie) of Moulton, Tina Hermetz of Cullman, Todd Hermetz (Christina) of Greenville, SC; his nieces and nephews: Michelle Heatherly of Jacksonville, Fla., Michael Heatherly (Sara) of Auburn, triplets Grant, Josiah and Alessandra Hermetz of Greenville, SC.; and his great nephew Porter Heatherly of Auburn.
Funeral service will be Sunday, Oct. 13 at 3 p.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Cullman with the Rev. John Bussman and Rev. Eddie Scheler officiating. Saturday night visitation is 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Moss Service Funeral Home in Cullman. Pallbearers will be Steve Sides, Jimmy Barnes, Rickey Kreps, Windell Woods, Michael Heatherly, Josiah Hermetz and Grant Hermetz. Honorary pallbearer is Roy Drinkard. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made in honor of Mr. Hermetz to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, Inc. (www.curemeso.org
or 1317 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314) or to the "GM1 Fund" at the Community Foundation of East Alabama, Inc. for his nephew Porter Heatherly, suffering from a rare terminal genetic disease (P.O. Box 165 Opelika, AL 36803).