Thelma Crumbacker Wimmer was one of Sykesville's most important modern residents. She was born in Roanoke, Va., in March of 1909 and died at Fairhaven in 2009.
She and her husband, Wilbur, moved to Sykesville in 1936, where he set up a plumbing business. Over the years, as she became more interested in the town, she became a citizen activist and powerful voice for change.
Wilbur served on the Town Council in the fifties, and Thelma served from 1968 to 1972. Later she ran for mayor, but lost to a man in his eighties.
She was instrumental in convincing the town to buy the old building that now serves as the Town House (seat of government), played a pivotal role in establishing the town's Historic District Commission, and along with Mayor Lloyd Helt, was a key factor in preserving the town's train station, when its owners wanted to knock it down.
She collected all sorts of Sykesville memorabilia and was probably the most important person in creating the town's Gate House Museum. In 1993, she told the Baltimore Sun, "I had pictures behind my furniture, many boxes of old photos around the house, and my garage was full of the collection."
According to the sun, "There was old furniture, postcards, clocks, an 1885 Bible, a 100-year old bank ledger, a B&O promotional banner celebrating the Fair of the Iron Horse from 1927, Native American artifacts, a 1920s-era collection of Valentine cards and even vintage clothing."
In the 1980s, she inspired a whole generation of young newcomers to the town with a slide show of historic buildings. People spoke of that slide show for years and many referred back to it as a catalyst for change and a point of inspiration.
She worked closely with both mayors Helt and Jonathan Herman, who refers to her as a "kindred spirit." During Herman's era, they declared the first Sunday in April "Thelma Wimmer Day," although the town doesn't seem to do much to celebrate the day anymore.
She was small and thin, but she was a force, an inspiration, and at a time when the town really needed one, a thorn in the side.