Beneath the considerable congeniality that radiated in thousands of encounters Timothy M. Warren had at his family’s publishing business and in many activities in Concord was a fierce enthusiasm for everything he liked and everyone he loved.
“He was intensely emotional about anything that he felt deeply about,” said Mary Anderson, who lived across the street from Mr. Warren in Concord for four decades. “I can see him now, gripping his fists. He was never a cold fish about anything. Anything that he was interested in, he was interested in wholeheartedly.”
And so when Bowdoin Magazine, a publication of his alma mater, Bowdoin College, asked Mr. Warren what advice he had to offer, he didn’t hesitate.
“Find something that moves you, that really motivates you and makes you happy, then do it with everything you’ve got,” he said in an interview for the spring 2010 issue. “Do what you’re passionate about; do what you love; don’t do what you’re expected to do because it fits into the norms of society.”
Mr. Warren, the third generation of his family to run what is now called The Warren Group, which compiles real estate data in New England and publishes the weekly Banker & Tradesman, died in his Topsham, Maine, home last Friday of complications from myelodysplastic syndrome. He was 89 and previously lived in Concord for many years.
High on the list of Mr. Warren’s enthusiasms were Maine, where his family moved to ride out the Great Depression in the small town of Lovell, and Bowdoin, which he attended on a scholarship.
“Tim’s loyalty to Bowdoin knew no bounds,” Barry Mills, Bowdoin’s president, wrote this week in an e-mail to the college’s trustees. “I knew him personally when I was a student here in the early 1970s, and even then, I marveled at his devotion and enthusiasm. In 1976 he wrote: ‘I am unashamedly proud and sentimental about the college. It is one of the most important things in my life.’ ”
Mr. Warren also was devoted to his family, and thought of everyone who worked at the business his grandfather founded as part of his extended family. After graduating from Bowdoin, he began working for the family business, and there he remained, albeit with initial reservations.
“My father counted on me to take over and run the show, so I stayed,” he told Bowdoin Magazine. “Had that not been the case, I probably would have moved on and done something else. I wanted to teach.”
Instead, he taught others in the business world how a boss could be successful, yet humane, as he rose to become president and chairman.
“I have a certain amount of pride in the way in which I have developed a community in those 30 years that I was running the company,” he said in a recorded memoir that is posted online. “I went to every wedding of every employee. When there was a death in the family, I was at the services.”
Mr. Warren “really did love the people he worked with; it was genuine,” said David Lovins, president of The Warren Group. “You could see it in his smile. You could hear it in his words. He was intertwined with everybody’s personal lives. He felt the business was an extension of his own family, and that’s the way he treated it.”
The youngest of three children, Timothy Matlack Warren was born in New Canaan, Conn., and was a boy when his family moved to Lovell.
In a town of a few hundred, he attended a one-room schoolhouse and as a boy helped run a biweekly, The Lovell News, which reported on local happenings. He graduated from nearby Fryeburg Academy and headed to Bowdoin.
During the summer after his freshman year, he worked at a restaurant in his hometown and met Phyllis Faber, a counselor at a summer camp in Lovell. He asked her to dance one night, and then courted her persistently in conversations via her camp’s one phone.
“I fell in love with Phyllis at a very specific moment,” he said in the recorded memoir. At a church fair they attended, she was walking outside “with a man’s white shirt on, you know, with the sleeves rolled up, and I think probably blue corduroy shorts,” he recalled. “And she looked heavenly.”
He transferred to Harvard College and served during World War II as a first lieutenant in the Army’s medical corps before returning to Bowdoin. He graduated in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in French.
In 1992, Bowdoin presented him with the Alumni Service Award. Through the years, he served on the college’s Board of Overseers and committee on academic affairs, and was an overseer emeritus.
In Concord, where he lived from 1950 until moving to Topsham five years ago, Mr. Warren served on committees and boards for the town, the library, and arts organizations. He sang bass in the First Parish choir and volunteered in several capacities at the church. In the 1990s, the town honored Mr. Warren and his wife for their contributions.
“What struck me was the universal love that so many people felt for him,” said his son Timothy Jr. of Cambridge, chief executive of The Warren Group. “He had a way of relating to everyone with a great deal of warmth and friendliness.”
At work or in Concord, with colleagues or with his children’s friends, Mr. Warren knew the likes and dislikes of all he met, and often even knew their middle names, his son said.
“He probably was the most genial of all men that I’ve ever met,” said Anderson, Mr. Warren’s neighbor.
At numerous gatherings, Mr. Warren found opportunities to stand and praise someone present, offering accolades for accomplishments or a job well done.
“You could count on Tim, at the smallest dinner party, to have something to say, always about somebody else,” Anderson said. “He never boasted about himself.”
In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Warren leaves a daughter, Elizabeth Faulkner Warren-White of South Freeport, Maine; another son, Peter, of Camden, Maine; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Family and friends will celebrate his life at 11 a.m. Jan. 4 in First Parish in Concord.
Near the end of his recorded memoir, Mr. Warren looked ahead to a time when he would no longer be around and suggested his presence might still be felt.
“I would hope that my children would remember me and realize that there’s a little bit of me right there in them,” he said. “I’m not gone; I’m there. I’m part of how they view the world, how they feel about the sunrise.”