Mekbul Jeffrey Seid Timmer, a much-adored son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend, left this life on March 6, 2022 after making the lives of everyone he met better.
Mekbul was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to his first loving Mother, Zeyneba Tesfaye on April 27, 2003. It was at home in Addis that Mekbul became the outgoing, smiling, and mischievous boy that his loved ones came to know. He excelled in school, especially in Math and in English. He was competitive and always wanted to be at the top of his class. However, in classic Mekbul fashion, he was known to lead friends to skip school and spend their lunch money on candy. With a knowing smile, he was always one step ahead and very proud of it.
It is clear that Mekbul was deeply cherished by his mother, who passed away in 2009, and his grandmother, Alemitu Kono, who he lived with until she passed away in 2012. They gave him a gift that lasted for the rest of his life: his limitless capacity to give and receive love.
A neighbor and friend, Amarech Abate, cared for Mekbul until he was given a home by AHOPE for Children. At the time of Mekbul’s adoption, his American family was able to meet and talk with her and she shared that she always brought him a cake and ice cream on his birthday and visited him as often as she could. She also shared that his grandmother had been a teacher.
Mek’s last two years in Ethiopia living at AHOPE speak volumes about who he was. A bright, inquisitive, funny, impish prankster whose smile and laugh drew everyone to him. He had a way of making sure you knew, that though he loved you, he was just a little more awesome and you should accept that. And his friends did. There weren’t many dry eyes on the day he departed for his new life, and many lingering hugs.
Mekbul was very enthusiastic about being part of a family again. From the first minute we met, even though we were strangers, he immediately opened his heart to us. His place in the family was effortless. It really became impossible to remember the time before he was there.
Though he fit in easily and perfectly, he was also opinionated, smart and independent. Mek was particular about his “fit” - he liked being a trendsetter and took pride in his collection of shoes, hats, bandanas and sunglasses. He liked to look good, and - admit it - he always did. He’d get it in his head that he needed something and soon it would turn up in a package at the door. He wanted a badass sword and was told no, so shortly thereafter a package of actual throwing stars arrived by UPS.
His passions didn’t change a lot from when he was a little boy in Ethiopia – he still loved video games, listening to music, playing soccer, wrestling, watching movies and playing pranks on his family and friends just as much as he did before he arrived in the USA. His curiosity in pursuit of new skills was endless. He had an incredible amount of patience and focus when he wanted to learn to do something and would spend hours mastering his next feat. Juggling, Rubik’s Cube, card-throwing, skateboarding, yo-yo tricks, his incredible dance moves and more.
No matter what Mekbul did, his winning smile, inviting laugh and welcoming nature made people just want to be around him. He made friends easily and once you were his friend, he was loyal and generous with his time and money. He may actually have been the official chauffeur of the Portland High School Soccer team. He was easygoing, adaptable and never held a grudge, but he was a big fan of Impractical Jokers and went out of his way to mess with the people he thought were worth the effort.
One of the things you couldn’t help but notice about Mekbul was his irreverent sense of humor and quick wit. His ability to throw in a side comment in the middle of a conversation that would get everyone laughing was classic. At home, with his cousins up in the bunk room, at school, at the theater, on the field – wherever he was, he lit up a room in a way most of us wish we could. Maybe he had just a different enough way of looking at the world to make everyone take notice.
We did notice.
He wasn’t here long enough for any of us, but one thing everyone who knew Mekbul can be sure of is that he made their lives better. All those who loved Mekbul made his life better, too.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.”
Mek’s love crossed continents, communities, languages, oceans. It laughed loudly and joked playfully. It was confident and knowing. It will span lifetimes. Those that were lucky enough to know him will forever be grateful.
Mekbul will be profoundly and endlessly missed by his parents, Jeff and Mattie Timmer; his sisters, Maggie, Grace and Mary and his brother Joe; his grandparents, Jerry Timmer, Madeline Beckley and Allan Kotwicki; aunts and uncles, Brian Timmer and Beth Nagle, David Kotwicki, Dr. Stacey Beltz, Jennifer and Derek Archey; Andrew Kotwicki; his cousins, Noah and Ellis Timmer, Jim, Abby and Dan Archey and Carolyn and Matthew Kotwicki; special friends, Devann Hattis, Mengistu Abera, Kait Kmetz; and more people that loved him than number the stars. He is awaited eagerly in Heaven by his Ethiopian family and his much-loved grandma, Bethel Timmer.
The Memorial Service will be celebrated by Deacon Don Sobolewski at 2:00 p.m., Sunday, March 20, 2022 at the Portland High School Auditorium, 1100 Ionia Road, Portland, MI 48875. The family will receive friends and relatives on Friday from 4-8 p.m. and on Saturday from 4-8 p.m. at the Lehman Funeral Home, 210 E. Bridge Street, Portland, MI 48875.
Donations in Mekbul’s honor can be made to AHOPE for Children, Ethiopia (www.ahopeforchildren.org) or the Portland High School Boys Varsity Soccer Program (Venmo: @Portland-SoccerClub) or checks may be made to Portland Public Schools and kindly mailed to 9185 Shimano Drive, Portland, MI 48875. Arrangements are entrusted to Lehman Funeral Homes. Online condolences may be made at www.lehmanfuneralhomes.com.