To the average Santa Barbara resident and police officer, Tim “Shaky” French was just that Pershing Park guy who hung with Gator, accumulating illegal lodging tickets and suffering the effects of an ailing body. In fact, this tall, dark Louisiana native, who died in his sleep January 22, was so much more. Ask his sister Andrea, his mother Barbara, or his ex-wife Theresa and they will tell you: Timothy French had a heart the size of Alaska.
“He’d give everything he had to someone else just to make [them] happy” said his mother recently. And when they were kids, if someone said or did anything mean to Andrea, you could bet they’d be hearing from Tim about it.
Given the amount of grief that’s flowed since his death, apparently French’s full-size heart was on display here, too. Though he did not have a lot to give, he managed to give anyway.
French was born in Carmi, Illinois, the second child of four kids. His dad, Allan, was an oil field tool pusher, and that meant the family moved—a lot. They lived in 13 different states growing up, his sister said. California, Florida, and Louisiana were just a few of them, and the pendulum swung between feast and famine. As kids, the siblings were as thick as thieves. They spent a lot of time out in the woods, playing fort, and school. (Andrea was always the teacher.) Their mom was strict, however, and they knew to be home at dark.