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Timothy Jurgensen

Obituary for Timothy Jurgensen

July 19, 1956 - September 8, 2018
Austin, Texas | Age 62


Timothy Jurgensen passed away recently in Austin, at the age of 62.

Tim was born to Warren and Gwen Jurgensen in Lexington, Kentucky, on July 19, 1956. In 1966, the Jurgensens moved to Fort Worth. Tim graduated from Nolan High School. He received a Bachelor's in Biology from Stephen F. Austin University and a Master's in Environmental Science from TCU.

Tim started his career with the Texas Water Commission in Duncanville working on water quality projects in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. He later took a position with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) in Tyler, where he became part of the Contaminant Assessment Team. Much of his work focused on selenium contamination in power plant cooling lakes in east Texas.

In 1997, Tim brought his skills and knowledge to San Marcos, joining the TPWD River Studies Team as an Aquatic Biologist. This position gave Tim the opportunity to work statewide on stream and river quality. Tim was a major contributor to many research projects, including a multiyear project looking at water quality, biology, habitat, and contaminants in east Texas streams, and a Nueces River project that was instrumental in the passage of Senate Bill 818, which banned the driving of vehicles in state river beds. Later, he worked at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Tim cared deeply about the environment. After retirement, he volunteered at Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, surveying endangered species such as the Golden-cheeked Warbler, and threatened species such as the Jollyville Salamander. He also did water quality monitoring and vegetation surveys.

Tim loved to travel. In his teens, he went to Australia and met the family of his mother, who grew up in Melbourne. As a young man, he traveled to the Pacific Northwest, Mexico's Copper Canyon, and Alaska, where he hiked the Denali Wilderness. In 1993, Tim and his father went to Scandinavia and the UK. Tim especially loved camping. Almost every year, he camped on family land in Colorado, where he hiked the Weminuche Wilderness. In the early 1980s, he and his sister, Karen, backpacked in the Arkansas wilderness and Big Bend National Park. He also backpacked alone for five days in the Guadalupe Mountains. Tim continued challenging himself in the outdoors in the new century, taking trips to Kentucky, Utah, and Montana.

On Nov. 23, 2002, Tim married the love of his life, Robin McMillion. They honeymooned along the Frio River in Leakey, Texas. They also traveled to Ruidoso, New Mexico, in 2002; the Yucatan Peninsula in 2003; Germany, Switzerland, and France in 2007; Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 2009; Hawaii in 2011; and Spain and the UK in 2014.

Upon marriage, Tim became a step-father to Robin's children, Leslie and Ari. He helped put both through college. One of Tim's proudest moments was when he walked Leslie down the aisle at her wedding. For many years, Tim and Robin lived near her parents in north Austin. Tim helped her care for her parents in their later years, and grieved their passing, along with the passing of his own parents.

Tim loved science. He also loved nature. Even as a child, Tim was happiest when he was outdoors. He especially loved water. He and Robin met while swimming at Krause Springs. For years, the couple had a sailboat on Lake Travis. Tim kayaked and canoed on Lady Bird Lake, swam with sea turtles in Hawaii, and dipped his toes into the Mediterranean.

In high school, Tim played the French horn, trombone, trumpet, and tuba. As an adult, he played the guitar and dulcimer. Tim loved live music. He and Robin often went to the Celtic Festival, and he regularly attended Old Settler's Music Fest in Driftwood. Tim especially liked Tom Petty and Patty Griffin. Once, Robin surprised Tim with tickets to see Jackson Browne. Tim was also an avid reader. In addition to fiction, he read science- and nature-related magazines, often cover-to-cover.

Tim and Robin divorced amicably in 2017, but remained close. Shortly before he died, Tim texted Robin, saying, "The day we married was the best day of my life." Robin texted back, "For me too."

Tim was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by sister Gail Hartsfield and husband, Will, of Dallas; sister Dr. Karen Jurgensen of Fort Worth; ex-wife Robin McMillion of Austin; step-daughter Leslie Walter and husband, Bryan, of Pensacola, Florida; step-son Ari Schulman of Arlington, Virginia; and granddaughter Cora Walter of Pensacola.

In A River Runs Through It, author Norman MacLean writes, "It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us . . . but I still reach out to them . . . Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."

A memorial service will be held at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home at 3125 N. Lamar Dr. in Austin on Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. Donations may be made in Tim's name to Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Sierra Club, or the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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Suggested Memorial Donations

  • Donations may be made in Tim's name to Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Texas Parks and Wildlife, the Sierra Club, or the Union of Concerned Scientists.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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