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Hartselle Enquirer

TMH teacher loses long battle with cancer

An icon in education for the trainable mentally handicapped (TMH) has gone to his reward, leaving behind a void that will be hard to fill.

Tim Dunlap, 60, died Wed., Aug. 15, at his home after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

The retired educator is credited with helping to organize and build up the TMH program at Brewer High School and laying the foundation for Terrell Industries, a sheltered workshop, in Hartselle. He taught TMH students at Brewer and at a school in Tennessee for 30 years.

“I worked with him at Brewer as a teacher,” said Venita Jones, a retired special education director for Morgan County Schools. “There was not a finer person or a better special education teacher on Earth. The program at Brewer would not be what it is today without his dedication, hard work and leadership.

He worked relentlessly for the Brewer program, raising money, writing grants and procuring specialized equipment for the students to use.

“We had people moving in from other part of the state so their children could attend Brewer’s TMH program, she added. “He loved the kids and always had positive things to say about them. It was not unusual for his former students to come visit him long after they graduated.”

“He jumped in and helped get Terrell Industries off the ground,” recalled Truman Bridges of Hartselle. “There were five of us fathers with special needs children who needed a place for them to work. He was very knowledgeable about where to go and who to see about getting help and he didn’t hesitate about putting feet to our cause. I don’t know what we would’ve done without his assistance.”

“His passion for special needs kids was obvious and was expressed in so many ways, Bridges added, “and they loved him from the bottom of their hearts.”

Dunlap leaves behind his wife, Nancy, two daughters and their husbands, three grandchildren, two brothers and a sister.