Dean O. Tillman, 88, of Springfield, IL, died at 5:30 am, Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at Oak Terrace in Springfield. He was born June 29, 1922, in Paris, IL, to William and Leota Athon Tillman. They preceded him in death as well as his three sisters Alberta Kroenung, Martha Dunbar, and Imogene Snow.
On May 6, 1950, Dean married Caroline Sunkel of Paris, IL, at the First Christian Church in Paris.
Dean graduated from Paris High School in May 1940. Following graduation Dean and 2 friends took a 1500-mile bicycle trip through Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. The following fall he attended Eastern Illinois University in Charleston for one year. In the summer of 1941, he and a friend hitch-hiked from St. Louis to Los Angeles on Route 66. He lived and worked there until the spring of 1942 when he returned to Paris. He often told how exciting and frightening it was on Pearl Harbor Day in LA.
Upon his return to Paris, he joined the U.S. Navy where he served as an air traffic control operator. He spent time in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo immediately following the War. He was discharged from the Navy in March 1946. After his discharge he attended Eastern Illinois University, graduating in June 1949. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Illinois in August 1953.
In September 1949 he started his long career in education in Springfield, IL. He taught 5-8 grade Social Studies at Ridgely Grade School and coached basketball and track at Springfield High School for three years and one year teaching P .E. and coaching at both Ridgely and Bunn Grade Schools. In the fall of 1953 he transferred to Feitshans High School where he taught boys P.E. and was assistant coach in basketball and track becoming head coach in track in 1955 and in 1962 teaching World History. In 1967 when Feitshans was replaced by Southeast High he became Assistant Principal in charge of Guidance. He remained at Southeast until his retirement in June 1989.
Dean is survived by his wife Caroline, two sons, Steve (Natalae) of Kansas City, MO, and Dr. Craig (Patty) of Rock Island, IL., one daughter, Sue (Terry) Scoggins of Springfield and eight grandchildren, Matthew and Amanda Tillman of Kansas City, Zach and Abby Tillman of Chicago, Nick Tillman of Rock Island, Nathan and Katie Bottom of Springfield, Staff Sgt. Daniel (Kristen) Bottom of Richmond Hill, GA., two great-grandchildren, Leyton Dean and Bryson James Bottom. He is also survived by a niece Shirley Jacobsen of LaSalle, IL, and several nieces and nephews.
Dean was a devoted husband and a loving father and granddad. He was a dedicated teacher and thoroughly enjoyed coaching and working with the students and did much to encourage them in obtaining an education and pursuing a career. He officiated cross country and track and field events for over 37 years and was well-known at many surrounding cities and schools. He retired from officiating in 2003.
Dean was a member of the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame, the Illinois High School Athletic Association for over 50 years, and the Springfield Retired Teachers Association.
Visitation: 4-7 pm, Thursday, March 24, 2011 at Staab Funeral Home.
Funeral Service: 1 pm, Friday, March 25, 2011 at Staab Funeral Home. Burial will be in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Memorials may be given to the Dean Tillman Scholarship Fund.