George Bell Timmerman Jr.

(Redirected from George Timmerman)

George Bell Timmerman Jr. (August 11, 1912 – November 29, 1994) was an American politician and World War II veteran who served as the 105th governor of South Carolina from 1955 to 1959.[1] A member of the Democratic Party, he previously served as the state's 76th lieutenant governor from 1947 to 1955.

George Bell Timmerman Jr.
SC Gov. George Timmerman.jpg
105th Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 18, 1955 – January 20, 1959
LieutenantFritz Hollings
Preceded byJames F. Byrnes
Succeeded byFritz Hollings
76th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
In office
January 21, 1947 – January 18, 1955
GovernorStrom Thurmond
James F. Byrnes
Preceded byRansome Judson Williams
Succeeded byFritz Hollings
Personal details
George Bell Timmerman Jr.

(1912-08-11)August 11, 1912
Anderson County, South Carolina, U.S.
DiedNovember 29, 1994(1994-11-29) (aged 82)
Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina, U.S.
Resting placeBatesburg Cemetery, Batesburg, South Carolina
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Helen Dupre (m. 1935, div. 1980)
Ingrid Zimmer
EducationThe Citadel
University of South Carolina, Columbia (LLB)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1942–1945
Battles/warsWorld War II

Life and careerEdit

Timmerman was born in Anderson County, the son of Mary Vandiver (Sullivan) and George Bell Timmerman Sr., a U.S. federal judge.[2] He was raised in Charleston and graduated from The Citadel. After receiving a law degree from the University of South Carolina, he practiced law with his father in Batesburg. Timmerman enlisted in the U.S. Navy as an officer with the entry of the United States in World War II after the attack on Pearl Harbor.[1]

Lieutenant Governor of South CarolinaEdit

Returning to South Carolina after the war, Timmerman ran as a Democrat for Lieutenant Governor in 1946 on the same ticket as fellow veteran Strom Thurmond. He was elected for a term beginning in 1947 and reelected in 1950 for another four-year term.

Gubernatorial tenureEdit

While Governor he opposed the Supreme Court's ruling in 1954 declaring segregated public schools unconstitutional. Timmerman fought the changes brought by the decision to defend "the integrity of the races" and "our customs and institutions." He urged Congress to limit the authority of the United States Supreme Court. He regarded Northern insistence on racial integration as hypocritical.[1]

In the gubernatorial election of 1954, he faced nominal opposition in the Democratic primary and ran unopposed in the general election becoming the 105th Governor of South Carolina in 1955. He sought to thwart an order by the Interstate Commerce Commission for desegregation of long-distance travel in 1955, especially because it affected public waiting rooms. At the same time he opposed Federal court orders integrating public parks, bathing beaches and golf courses. For the desegregation of public schools, he vowed with other Southern Governors to thwart it with Congressional or state legislation.

He was the favorite presidential candidate of the South Carolina delegation at the 1956 Democratic National Convention. During the convention he was a leader of Southern opposition to what he called "radical civil rights legislation and radical planks in the platform." He signed a law in 1956 to bar members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from public employment in South Carolina. He opposed civil rights laws enacted by the Eisenhower Administration.

Judicial appointment and retirementEdit

After leaving the governorship in 1959, Timmerman was appointed as a judge to the state's Eleventh Judicial Circuit in 1967 and served until 1984.[1] While a judge, Timmerman declared the 1974 South Carolina law on capital punishment to be unconstitutional.[3] This ruling was affirmed in the 1976 U.S. Supreme Court decision Gregg v. Georgia.

He died on November 29, 1994, in Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wolfgang Saxon (December 3, 1994). "George B. Timmerman Jr., 82, Segregationist Leader in 50's". New York Times.
  2. ^ "Timmerman, George Bell, Jr. | South Carolina Encyclopedia".
  3. ^ "Collection: George Bell Timmerman, Jr. Papers | ArchivesSpace Public Interface". Retrieved 2020-04-14.

External linksEdit

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Governor of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina
January 21, 1947–January 18, 1955
Succeeded by
Preceded by Governor of South Carolina
January 18, 1955–January 20, 1959
Succeeded by