Community mourns Destination Hilliard executive director Tim Kauffman

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group
Tim Kauffman, executive director of Destination Hilliard, is pictured at Hilliard's Station Park in April 2019. Kauffman died May 30 at his home. He was 64.

Tim Kauffman, executive director of Destination Hilliard for almost three years, died suddenly May 30 at his home in Gahanna.

He was 64.

Kauffman had taken the reins of Destination Hilliard in August 2018, saying it "felt right."

He was the organization’s second executive director, succeeding Christy Clark, who became its first executive director in June 2010.

Destination Hilliard was created shortly before that by Hilliard City Council to replace the Hilliard Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Clark recommended Kauffman for the job to the board of directors of Destination Hilliard.

"When an organization's leadership changes, the period that follows is often a defining moment for the future," Clark said. "With Tim's vast experience, I knew the transition would go smoothly and that he would take Destination Hilliard to new heights, which he did.

"He accomplished so much in a short time (and) will be missed dearly in the tourism industry and the Hilliard community."

Linda Ulrey, president of the board of directors for Destination Hilliard, said in 2018 that the board had “very high expectations" for the future.

Those expectations were met in the past three years, Ulrey said.

“My heart is broken about the sudden passing of Tim," she said. "He was so passionate about bringing guests into Hilliard. He was my friend and I as well as the board will miss him greatly."

Ulrey said it is too soon to determine the next step for Destination Hilliard but that she is overseeing the organization’s day-to-day responsibilities for the near future.

Kauffman often collaborated with Libby Gierach, president and CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, who called Kauffman “passionate” about Hilliard.

Libby Gierach (left), president and CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, and Tim Kauffman, executive director of Destination Hilliard, stand at Hilliard's Station Park along Center Street in Old Hilliard in June 2020. Kauffman died May 30 at his home. He was 64.

That passion was displayed in Kauffman’s efforts to promote the city in many ways.

Before being named executive director of Destination Hilliard, Kauffman was regional marketing and communications director for the March of Dimes in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

Kauffman graduated from Eastmoor High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio State University.

While at Ohio, Kauffman earned four varsity letters in baseball and received the Potter Runmaker Award for most valuable player both his freshman and senior years, departing as the career leader in walks, hits, doubles, triples and stolen bases.

Kauffman also was a fast-pitch softball All-American and won several national team championships and a gold medal for Team USA at the Maccabi Games in Israel.

His 30-year career in marketing and communications included employment with Tourism Ohio, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Columbus and March of Dimes.

He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Kari Cole Kauffman, and sons, Evan Kauffman (Hannah) and Jack Kauffman (Melissa).

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo