Gene Timmer, Owner of Detroit's Popular Dutch Girl Donuts, Dies at 75

September 19, 2021, 7:22 AM

Lauren and Gene Timmer

Gene Timmer, owner of the popular Dutch Girl Donuts on Woodward Avenue in Detroit died Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 75.

His daughter Hanna Timmer Parrow said the Commerce Township resident passed peacefully at Ascension Providence Hospital in Novi surrounded by his family, the Detroit Free Press reports.

"He was the-shirt-off-his-back kind of guy. He put everyone first, his family, the doughnut shop," she told the Freep, which writes: 

Dutch Girl Donuts has been in the family since it was founded by Timmer's parents,  John and Cecelia Timmer, in 1947. An only child, Timmer was born in Grand Rapids. He was 6 months old, Timmer Parrow said, when the family moved to Detroit to take over the doughnut shop, a former Dixie Cream Donut franchise. It was six months later the family renamed the iconic spot on Woodward as Dutch Girl Donuts.

Because of health reasons he retired from the shop about 10 years ago, leaving the operation to his son Jon Timmer. 

The shop has been closed since Sept. 1.

On Aug. 31, it posted this on Facebook:

In an effort to resume a full staff and hours that we have prided ourselves on for 75 years, we have decided to temporarily pause operations. Dutch Girl will be closed starting 9/1.  We appreciate all your support over the years and will continue to keep you updated.

Timmer met his wife Lauren at the doughnut shop. They had been married for 45 years.

Deadline Detroit readers responded on Facebook:

Tracy Bonaparte
So so sorry for the loss of such a good business owner. Dutch Girl Donuts was a staple part of Detroit.

Michelle Shewmaker
My Condolences to the family, Best DONUTS ever.

Kimarie Williams
I knew there was something more to the closing....sorry to hear of the death.

Darlene Hoy
Hanna, so sorry to hear this sad news. Your Dad, mom, and your family will be in my prayers. May your dad rest peacefully in the arms of God. May your family find peace. God bless you all.


Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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