July 23, 2014

Charter bus entrepreneur, educator Veronica Timpson dies at 64

The image was extraordinary.

The image was extraordinary.

Picture a petite woman, soft-spoken, commanding a limo or charter bus. Not only driving the large vehicles, but as president of the company.

That’s how Veronica Timpson was described in a 1992 profile of the company she co-founded with twin sister, Venita Timpson: Timpson Limousine & Charter Bus Service, Miami.

At the time, Timpson was honored in the Business section for her entrepreneurial skills. The company had grown to employ two full-time and eight part-time employees and, from the mid-1980s into the late 1990s, had a fleet of three buses and seven limos.

Timpson, a native of Miami who lived in Northwest Miami-Dade, died July 15 at 64. Her sister said the image was correct. Frail, perhaps, but powerful.

“My sister has been basically in ill health all of our lives, but whatever my aspirations were, she was right there to coach me on,” Venita Timpson said.

The twins were working part-time for a cousin who owned a mortuary in 1978 when Veronica had an idea for a new business start-up.

“The funeral homes didn’t have their own cars, and on this particular Saturday we had to pick up limos from the Jockey Club. She flagged me down and said, ‘We don’t have this service in our community. Why not you and I give it a try?’ Because of her, we went into business and branched off into the charter bus business,” Venita said.

The Timpsons rented to funeral homes for clients in Miami-Dade and Broward and the charter bus service whisked church and school groups to Walt Disney World in Orlando.

“We did a lot of driving in the first few years. You get to meet a lot of interesting people — entertainers, bankers, lawyers,” Veronica said in the 1992 Herald feature. “Now, I’ve reached the point where I can stay home and do the paperwork and let the guys do the legwork.” She would also work as executive secretary for the Hall-Ferguson-Hewitt Mortuary from 1988 to 2009.

The twins were both educators in the Miami-Dade Public School system and, for seven years, Veronica juggled both jobs at school and with the charter fleet as president. Veronica first taught history at the twins’ alma mater, Miami Jackson Senior High School, and then spent 11 years teaching social studies at Norland Middle School in Miami Gardens through 1985.

“We both wanted to be attorneys but when we got to Tuskegee University we befriended education majors,” Venita said. She, too, taught in the Miami-Dade School system, retiring recently after 36 years at Jackson where she was activities director.

“That was my twin sister. Married couples have better halves. So she was my better half,” Venita said. “She was my greatest supporter, my greatest fan. We did everything together.” Roommates at Tuskegee in Alabama. Master’s degrees at the University of La Verne in California.

“We never separated from each other. I looked out for her. She was the oldest but because she was basically ill she was the ‘weaker one,’ but I needed her strength because she was such a strong person. She never let anything get her down,” Venita said.

Veronica would face six surgeries on her hands to help her cope with rheumatoid arthritis. “She wanted her life to be a testament to someone else that even in your infirmities God can still use you,” Venita said. “She always gave reverence to God. She said nobody but God allowed her to do what she needed to do.

“She was the glue that kept the family together. The organizer. The planner,” Venita said.

Four years ago she hosted her mother’s 90th birthday party. This year, from her bedside, she organized a combination Fourth of July and birthday celebration for their mother’s 94th, and 50 people came, her twin said.

Timpson was also superintendent of Sunday School for more than 20 years at Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Liberty City, scholarship committee chair for the Baptist Women’s Council of Greater Miami, and Vicinity and a treasurer for the Miami-Dade Council of the National Pan Hellenic Council.

In addition to her twin, survivors include her mother Beatrice Ferguson Johnson and her brothers Antonio and Anthony Johnson. A viewing will be held 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 30 at Mount Sinai Church, 698 NW 47th Ter., Miami, with the funeral at 11 a.m. July 31 at Mount Sinai.

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