From Cattle to Condos

James E. Timmons was born on July 22, 1946 in Springfield, Ohio. He spent the early part of his life learning about farming with his two older brothers and two younger sisters. After high school, he began working at International Harvester building trucks and automobiles. In 1965, at age 19, Jim was drafted into the United States Army to serve in Vietnam working on helicopters as a Sergeant in the 20th Transport Company. After one year stationed in Cu Chi, he returned home to Springfield and his job at International. In 1971, Jim learned of an opportunity to work on the Ohio Masonic Home farm milking cows. He spent the first few years working under a manager before taking on full responsibility of the farm and animals. Many of those serving on the Ohio Masonic Home Board of Trustees had farming backgrounds, and recognized the incredible benefit of having a working farm within the organization. The cattle provided the Home with fresh milk and the ample lands were farmed to produce food for the residents. The farm was run on a system called “the shares,” which allowed Jim to partially own the Ohio Masonic Home’s cows and they in return claimed partial ownership of his herd. The profit from the milk they sold was then divided equally. Jim had been working at the Ohio Masonic Home for four years when he met Marilyn, a Tecumseh High School math teacher from Springfield whom he would marry in 1976. Two years later, inspired by the Masons he worked around, Jim was raised a Master Mason at H.S. Kissell Lodge 674. The next decade held several more important events for Jim, including the births of his son and two daughters, Jason, Jill and Jaime, and his own college graduation, ten years in the making. The Timmons family not only tended the lands and cattle at the Ohio Masonic Home, they also resided in a farmhouse located on the hill just east of the current Masonic Square villas. The space the villas would begin to occupy in 1986 was then the home of cattle, barns and the all-important milking station. Jim would be the last Ohio Masonic Home dairy manager, as twelve years after the Masonic Square groundbreaking, the cows were sold and the farm slowly disassembled. In 2002, Jim and Marilyn left their farmhouse on the Ohio Masonic Home grounds and settled on a thirty acre farm nearby. Jim continues to farm the land on campus, planting corn and soybeans and bringing his own herd of cattle out to graze in a southern pasture. Few realize exactly how large the campus truly is, but after 44 years, Jim knows every acre like the back of his hand.

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