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James A. Tilton

James A. "Jim" Tilton, 93, of Waterloo, IL, died December 9, 2021, in Waterloo, IL. He was born March 14, 1928, in Tilton, IL.

He is survived by his children Jeffrey T. (Karen) Tilton and Judy (Bill) Thomas; step-children Terry Baker and Tyler Vogel; grandchildren Sarah (Randy) Allen, Lauren (Colin Pena) Thomas, Clay Tilton, and Adam (Robert Brelsford) Thomas; great-grandchildren Wyatt Allen and Wesley Allen and Reese Pena; niece; nephew; and cousins.

He is preceded in death by his first wife Harriet (nee Carder) Tilton; second wife Maralee (nee Tyler) Tilton; and parents Frank V. & Dorothy H. (nee Hopkins) Tilton.

He retired in 1987 from the Norfolk Southern Corporation after having served 42 years in the Signal Departments of Wabash, Norfolk & Western and Norfolk Southern Railroads. At his retirement he held the position of Regional Superintendent - Signals. He had headed the Western Region Signal Department for eleven years from 1976 until his retirement.
He was a past chairman of the Southwest Signal Engineers and was elected as a life member of both the Association of American Railroads - Communication and Signal Section and the American Engineering and Maintenance of Way Association.
Mr. Tilton was an avid railroad enthusiast and had written several histories of railroads, most especially his favorite Wabash, having been the fifth generation to work in the service of that company. His rail memorabilia collection was quite significant and consisted primarily of printed matter, some documents well over one hundred years old.
He also wrote numerous articles reflecting the boyhood memories of his hometown of Tilton, Illinois, of which he was most proud of. Those articles were published in several local area historical journals.
He loved the Lord and belonged to St. Matthew United Methodist Church.
Mr. Tilton was a Master Mason having been raised in Olive Branch Lodge No. 38 A.F.& A.M. in 1949 with his beloved Dad, Frank and Uncle Sam among those brethren in attendance. He belonged to the Scottish Rite and York Rite Bodies, Ainad Shrine and Belleville High Twelve Club No. 35 of which he was a past president and recipient of their Man of the Year award in 1992.
In parting his thoughts recalled a poem he paraphrased which was written by an all time favorite of his. Edgar Lee Masters.
" Good Friends, lets to the fields and walk, then after a little talk and laughter, and by your pardon, I think I'll sleep. You know there is no sweeter thing nor fate more blessed than sleep."

As an expression of sympathy the family prefers memorial contributions to:
Monroe County House of Neighborly Services, Shriner Hospital, or St. Jude

No services will be held.

To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Tilton, please visit our flower store.


The ones we love are never gone, for they live within our hearts.
today and always, may loving memories bring you strength, comfort and peace. Jim was a great guy! So sorry for your loss.

Pamela K Dauphin Dec 13 2021 12:05 PM

Until we meet again Uncle Jim.
You will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting you..

Judy, and the rest of the family, you are all in our thoughts and prayers.
The Carder Family.

Jason Carder Dec 13 2021 12:02 PM

It was always a pleasure to talk railroading in general, and the Wabash in particular, with Jim. He was a good man, and will be missed.

Gary Roe Dec 12 2021 6:28 PM

A candle was lit in memory of James Tilton

Dylan Spencer Dec 11 2021 5:43 PM