William “Bill” LaRue Tilford Sr. was born June 1st, 1927 and passed away peacefully at home with his wife by his side on Monday, March 5, 2018 at 90 years old.
Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of 52 years, Ardith “Tilly” Tilford; his children: William “Bill” Tilford Jr.(Bernice), Terry Tilford (Claudia), Melissa Tilford, and Susan Rothell (Emory); his grandchildren: Samuel Blakely, Todd Tilford, Chris Tilford (Rhiannon), Jeff Turner (Christine), Nick Tilford, Sara Tilford, Sarah Rothell, and Jessica Rothell; and his 11 great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents, Russell and Nora Tilford, and his brother, Don Tilford.
Bill grew up in Lostant, IL then lived in California where he started his career in engine tech and fueling in the budding aerospace industry. This profession brought him to the Space Coast in Brevard County where he proudly contributed to the Titan, Gemini, Apollo, and shuttle missions.
There are many diverse and fascinating chapters in Bill’s life. He worked in real estate and as a volunteer police officer in Brevard County where he made many lasting friendships. He was very talented in wood-working and enjoyed making furniture, bird houses, and other items that will forever be cherished by friends and family. He used this skill to build his family two houses, the second of which they still call home.
He was an active member of St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church where he contributed to the upkeep of the church and participated in many events.
Bill impacted many lives with his kind heart, loving nature and bright smile. His greatest joy was watching his grand and great-grandchildren play together in his backyard at family gatherings. He enjoyed John Wayne movies, Johnny Cash music, and loved watching Westerns. He was known for his sharp mind, wit, and political knowledge. He enjoyed frequent breakfasts with his circle of friends where they would have conversations about life, current events, politics and welcomed anyone who wanted to join. If you ever had the pleasure of discussing politics with him, his input made any conversation lively regardless of whether your personal views were in alignment or different than his own.
Bill will be greatly missed by those lucky enough to know and love and be loved by him.
A memorial mass will be held Tuesday, March 13, 2017 2 pm at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice of St. Francis and St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church.