Melvin John Tilly
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Melvin John Tilly
  • February 12, 1926 - August 4, 2017
  • Brentwood, California

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Melvin John Tilly passed away peacefully on Friday August 4th after spending the day with his spouse of 61 years, Joanne, and all six of his children. Born in McAllen, Texas to John and Winnie Tilly in February,1926. He grew up happily on the family citrus farm with his only sibling, Inez.


He served his country proudly as a member of the United States Air Force, after which he pursued an Engineering degree from Texas A & M University. In 1956, while working in Texas, he met the love of his life at a Church gathering. They were engaged after 2 months and married by the end of that year (true love does not like to wait). They moved a few times, having 6 children along the way, before finally settling in their home in Concord, California. One of Mel's proudest accomplishments was enjoying the fact that all six of his children went on to graduate from college, five of which studied engineering. In retirement, Mel and Joanne enjoyed towing their 5th wheel, zig-zagging across the country visiting relatives and friends before taking to the sky to explore the world including Ireland, Russia and walking on the Great Wall of China. He lived the last years of his life in Brentwood, California; enjoying retirement, walking with good friends, and living among orchards once again.


Melvin Tilly was born with a knack of repairing anything mechanical and loved to share his knowledge with anyone in need of help. Many Saturday afternoons were spent in the garage (workshop), working on boat or auto engines, or fixing a family bicycle. He maintained the family's vehicles well past their prime, always keeping meticulous records of the gas and mileage on an index card above the sun visor of each car. It was not unusual to find him with a child, neighbor or friend replacing a random belt or spark plug on a vehicle in their driveway. He loved camping and exploring with the family in their 1973 Ford Econoline van (less air conditioning,) but this allowed each child a seat of their own, and one space in between them. An ice chest filled with sandwiches and cold soda always sat near the front. Mel loved a good barbecue and family dinners were a nightly occurrence, with a few additional friends usually at the table. He drew from each of life's experiences and loved to pass on his knowledge.


Melvin is survived by his loving Wife of 61 years Joanne Crow Tilly, his children Mark Tilly (Laura), Michael Tilly (Jan), Diane Fairley (Chris), Daniel Tilly (Nicole), Steve Tilly (Terri) and youngest Laura Tilly. Additionally Melvin had 14 grandchildren, Eric (Juliet), Kathryn (Henry), Jason Adam, Phillip, Nick, James, Nicole, Jacob, Alec, Tristan, Paul, Erin and Cassiel.


Mel was preceded in death by his parents John and Winnie Tilly, sister Inez Leidner and daughter-in-law Amy. A Funeral Mass will take place at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 500 Fairview Ave, Brentwood, CA on Thursday August 24, 2017 at 11am. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to your favorite charity in his name.


Mel may be gone but will not be forgotten. His love of family, friends, and adventure will live on with those he leaves behind. Until we meet again...

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