Timmer – stained glass work keeps him busy

Tony Timmer looks at the stained glass door he made for St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church. The door is for the chapel in the church’s parish activity center. (Patrick Fisher Photo)

When Tony Timmer of New Prague took up stained glass work as a hobby seven years ago, his family was happy.

            "They were happy I had something to do. It keeps me busy and keeps my mind busy," he said.

            The latest example of stained glass by Timmer, 85, can be found in the chapel at St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church’s parish activity center. The four windows were put up in June on the chapel’s west wall. He also did a door for the chapel in 2009.

            "Dee (Darlene) Witt from the parish approached me about the door, which was quite a challenge, especially since I was only into the second year of my hobby," said Timmer, who retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service. In the door’s center is a cross with wheat in the lower right corner and a dove in the upper left.

            He explained before he started his hobby he would spend time with his family or be "up at the lake." He also worked maintenance at the Buckingham Apartments in downtown Minneapolis.

            Timmer noted he took up stained glass work without any instructions. "I never had any lessons. My mistakes were my mistakes," he said, although he did learn from those mistakes. "There’s a lot of waste in stained glass. The patterns have to go in a certain way."

            Timmer buys his supplies from Dee Thomas of Classical Glass in Henderson. "She’s a very helpful person," said Timmer. He takes on jobs for other people, but a lot of his work he has given to his family.

            In 2009, there was talk about windows for the chapel, but Timmer never heard anymore about it. He decided to make the windows himself and donate them to the church.

            "The longer I live in New Prague and the more I get to know the people, the more surprised I am by the skill and talent of its residents," said Father Kevin Clinton of St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church. "I would never have imagined there was someone in the community with the ability to work with stained glass windows."

            "I worked on them for a couple of months," said Timmer about the windows. "The biggest problem was finding an inner circle."

            "They came out good," he said. He pointed out how each has a circle with an item in its center, representing aspects of the Catholic faith. The items are of a chalice, the Trinity, the Holy Spirit and holy oil.

            "It takes a lot of knowledge and a lot of working with glass and metal, to say nothing of the art and the creativity of making something that hangs together as one beautiful piece," Father Clinton noted. "The addition of the stained glass windows to our chapel significantly enhances a place for prayer and contemplation."