Survivor Profile: Tim Tupper

Born Timothy Glenn Tupper, was a member of the Peoples Temple because of his mother, Rita Tupper. In 1969, Rita, who was married at the time, joined the Peoples Temple. She was uneducated and from the midwestern farmlands who had found structure and support from the Peoples Temple. While a member of the Peoples Temple, she had divorced from her husband and her son, Tim, started to become close to Jim Jones’s son, Stephan. As a result of the divorce, Rita took custody of her three daughters, as well as Tim. Even though Tim described himself as a “daddy’s boy,” he decided to stay with his mother and in the Peoples Temple. Eventually, Jim and Marceline Jones adopted Tim and he became Timothy Glenn Tupper Jones.

Tim did not particularly care for Jonestown as much as Stephan did. Tim and Jim Jones Jr. “did not share Stephan’s love for the jungle. From the start, Tim and Jimmy hated Jonestown. They missed the excitement of San Francisco and the companionship of their schoolmates there.” Tim also excelled as an athlete, particularly in baseball where he was a pitcher for his team, the Cobras, and eyed a spot on the varsity team and had hopes of pitching at the University of California-Berkeley. He also had a girlfriend, Sandy, back in San Francisco that made him not enjoy Jonestown as much as the others did. However, Jim Jones thought of Tim as extremely loyal and courageous and so he stayed in Jonestown.

Tim survived the Jonestown murder-suicide because he was a member of the Jonestown basketball team that was playing against the Guyanese national team in Georgetown. However, his mother, biological brother, and three biological sisters all died at Jonestown. There was an order from Jim Jones to return the team to Jonestown three days before the murder-suicide, but Stephan Jones refused. As a result, they were questioned and held under house arrest for five days and had to help identify the victims.

Chapter Eleven: Everything Changes


Return to Survivor Profiles