Family of deceased father, daughter seeks help covering funeral, travel expenses
NILES — An Oklahoma City resident whose dad and sister were found dead in their Niles home is now awaiting the chance to say a final goodbye and lay them to rest.
Timmothy Bivins, 56, heard the tragic news a couple of weeks ago, after authorities found the bodies of Albert Bivins, 81, and Patricia Bivins, 55, at 621 Woodruff St. in early January.
Tim is currently self-employed as a handyman, a business he said he is working to grow. At this time, he said his family does not have the funds to travel to Niles. Tim said he could do little to begin making arrangements for the father and sister that he refers to as his “life’s heroes.”
Tim has started a Go Fund Me page to help cover the cost. As of Thursday afternoon, the Go Fund Me had raised $1,100 out of a goal of $5,000. The page can be found at: gofundme.com/please-help-bury-my-dad-and-sister.
Tim said funeral arrangements are pending until the family can afford to travel to Niles, where they plan to bury Albert and Patricia.
While waiting for the donations to accrue, Tim got an unexpected message from a company in South Bend. Peter Farkas, a business owner for Far From High Prices, LLC, said he wanted to help the family in their time of need.
Farkas’ company sells technology equipment and so he offered to lend Tim webcasting gear to help broadcast the funeral from afar so that family that cannot travel to Niles will be able to see the funeral ceremony.
Tim said he was greatly touched by this gesture of kindness from a stranger.
“I believe there are angels sent from heaven,” Tim said. “I was extremely shocked as well as surprised when the gentleman reached out to us. During these difficult times, it is extremely hard finding someone willing to help out. This has been a true blessing for us.”
For his part, Farkas said he heard a news report about Albert and Patricia’s death and saw Tim speaking about them on TV.
“I saw a grown man in tears asking for help,” Farkas said. “For me, I have been blessed with a lot of things in my life. I figured I have extra time on my hands and there is no reason why I can’t help.”
Farkas has also been advocating for local Michiana businesses to make donations that will help the Bivins family with travel accommodations and funeral expenses
“We have been going pretty much door to door asking for donations,” Farkas said.
Across Michiana, local businesses offered to help in a variety of ways. Many have donated gifts cards or services to the cause. Farkas said the Gillespie Conference Center in South Bend, Prime Table in Niles and Strikes and Spares, to name a few, have donated to the cause.
As Tim has young children, Farkas said he also hoped to find some businesses that might be willing host the family for an evening for a fun activity to help take their minds off of the tragedy.
“We want them to have a chance to bond and not just be sad while they are here,” Farkas said.
Farkas said he is keeping donations safe and plans to give them to the family when they arrive.
Tim said his family is originally from Chicago. He described his sister Patricia as person with the ability to bring a smile to anyone’s face. He said Patricia had special needs and was living with their father, Albert, who was fiercely independent.
Tim said he loved fishing with his father while growing up. In Niles, Tim said Albert flourished and made many friends.
“He loved meeting and talking with new people,” Tim said. “He was a real go-getter. He was just his own person. He always believed that you could do anything you want to if you put your mind to it.”
Tim said the generosity of the Michiana community during this difficult time has been touching and that he hopes people consider donating to the cause.
“My biggest concern is just getting up there and coming up with the funds for the funeral arrangements and everything,” Tim said. “It would break my heart if I could not say farewell.”
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