Cover photo for Timothy Ryan Carey's Obituary
Timothy Ryan Carey Profile Photo
1978 Timothy 2021

Timothy Ryan Carey

October 28, 1978 — January 28, 2021

Chances are if you were ever following a University of Northern Iowa Panther football or basketball game; Timothy Ryan Carey was following it along with you. As of January 28, 2021, Tim has upgraded his ticket, and moved into the grand suite of heaven to continue watching his beloved Panthers from a better angle.

Following a courageous 3+ year battle with cancer which earned him the nickname Superman, Tim escaped the discomfort of his fight in his childhood home north of Marcus.

Tim was born October 28, 1978 in Cherokee to Esther (Hatterman) Carey, and John Carey of Marcus. Tim grew up on the family farm north of Marcus, the sibling of Christopher (Dallas) Carey of Marcus, and Erin (Jeff) Guerra of Valparaiso, IN. Growing up on a farm, as many people reading this know, can present itself with a variety of ways to keep a farm kid entertained – especially when the subject of our story happens to be the youngest in the family. Climbing out onto roofs, smashing rocks with hammers, playing with kittens and puppies, jumping down multiple stories in the barn, were all forms of “entertainment” on the farm. Tim attended MMC School until his graduation in 1997. During his time at MMC, he was involved in a variety of activities, including holding offices at his home church (Peace Lutheran) LYF organization, but also enjoying the Fine Arts – performing in plays and participating in band from 5th grade on, playing the Euphonium, which he continued to do until as recently as 3 years ago for a Municipal Band in Nevada, Iowa.

Following graduation, Tim attended UNI where he not only began his education, but also recommitted his life to Christ under the influence of childhood friend Ryan before attending Prairie Lakes Church in Cedar Falls for many years.

Enjoying the life of a college student and earning the affectionate nickname of 'Tool'(credited to some of the people reading this now) more than the actual process of learning itself, Tim resigned from UNI and began working at Warren Transport in Waterloo as a dispatcher. After discovering his life's passion was not in the transportation industry, he made the bold and respectable decision to return to school as an adult to finish his degree in 2011, graduating 13 years after his original enrollment – we were all thrilled for him!

With diploma in hand, it was time to explore exactly what the next adventure of his life would be. Tim loved the atmosphere of a university, however opportunities were limited. Eventually he found his next and most enjoyable work at Iowa State. Surrounded in his office by ISU Red, Tim was unapologetic for his public displays of Panther purple wherever he thought it might be visible. This was likely to the chagrin of his co-workers, however as far as we have heard no confrontations ever came about.

One of Tim's proudest accomplishments took place in his final years at ISU when he initiated a program that literally changed lives for former ISU students! Tim began reviewing the files of students that had left the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences without completing their degree, and worked with students that were close to completion to help them find creative ways to earn that degree. In several cases, he was able to help students earn their degree without ever having to take additional classes, by applying courses they had already completed which they could substitute for their remaining requirements.  Tim was able to help over a dozen students receive their diplomas that would not have done so without his intervention. This was literally life-changing for these people! As a result of Tim's efforts and success stories of improving lives – Tim's initiative is being copied and built upon across the university!

Tim is a genius. I mean he literally is based on his IQ scores (scoring in the 98th percentile of a standardized IQ test– as a member of the MENSA High IQ Society). How will this come in handy you ask? Let’s just say his family would try to beat him 4 against one in games of Classic Trivia Pursuit, eventually realizing there was no point in playing against him any longer.  Watching Jeopardy was another opportunity to be dazzled by his impressive brain in action.

In addition to loving his Panthers, Tim was also a die-hard St, Louis Cardinals baseball fan – traveling frequently to destinations around the Midwest to see his team play. If someone wanted to come along with him – great! If not, no problem as Tim was more than willing to go it alone if he got to see his team play. Tim is also an avid collector of firearms and of shooting, as he participated in a shooting league while working in Ames to sharpen his skills.

In the fall of 2019, Tim began dating his otter half,  Laura. Our entire family looks at the relationship and support of Tim from Laura as one of the factors that encouraged him to fight his sickness so very hard. Our family was blessed by Laura's presence in Tim's life and we are so thankful that they had the opportunity to meet, and for all the love Tim was able to feel. Despite being ill, Tim and Laura shared a wide variety of experiences including many live performances of shows, plays, musicals , playing board games, and other the like.

Tim will be remembered most for his passions. His passion for the Panthers and for the Cardinals. His passion for his family and friends. His passion for Laura. We are all better today because Tim was in our lives, and will miss you beyond what words can describe. Thank you for being our son, our brother, our friend and our partner. You are irreplaceable.  

A private graveside service was held on Monday, February 1 at Oak Hills Cemetery in Cherokee.  For individuals interested in making a donation on behalf of Tim – please consider doing so for the Cherokee Regional Medical Center’s Foundation.  You may do so on their website.  Their non-profit hospice team handled the past few months of Tim’s life with professionalism and made sure Tim was always pain free.  We appreciate their patience with us and Tim.

So until we meet again, enjoy the new view of your Panther and Cardinal games as well as your musical events you enjoy going to so much (I hear they have some amazing ones where you are now at).

But one request – please save us a seat until we can join you again.

A private family graveside service was held at 3:00 p.m. Monday, February 1, 2021, at Oak Hill Cemetery in Cherokee, Iowa.
Pastor Ryan Petersen
Oak Hill Cemetery
Cherokee, Iowa
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Timothy Ryan Carey, please visit our flower store.


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