Jack was born in 1922 in Camp County, Texas to B.D and Emma Tillery, and died at the age of 97 in Longview, Texas on August 18, 2020. After graduating from Leesburg High School, he attended East Texas State College for two years before enlisting as an aviation cadet in the Navy Flight Training Program during World War II. Upon receiving his commission and wings, he was designated a Naval Aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps. After serving as a Navy flight instructor, he served with the 1st Marine Air Wing in China and occupied Japan. He again served his country in the Korean Conflict reaching the rank of major. Major Tillery was awarded numerous medals for his distinguished service.
Jack married Betty Ann Quin of Gilmer on December 5, 1944. After finishing his military service, he and Betty returned to Waco, Texas where he graduated from Baylor University. They moved back to East Texas where their two children, Linda and Quin, were born. Jack continued his education at East Texas State University where he received his Masters of Education degree. He worked at Mid-Valley Pipeline Co. as an accountant and a pilot of the company planes. He also served as principal of Valley View Elementary School for 18 years, retiring in 1990. He always enjoyed seeing and visiting with former students. Jack was an active member of First Baptist Church since 1960.
After retiring Jack and Betty traveled extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He and Betty also spent much time at their beloved Circle T Farm near Gilmer. Jack enjoyed being with his family, his flower garden, watching the birds, and working on the farm. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren were his pride and joy.
Preceding Jack in death is his beloved wife of 70 years Betty Quin Tillery. Jack is survived by his children: daughter, Linda Ann Killough, and her husband Bo of College Station. John Quin Tillery, and his wife Linda of Longview. His grandchildren, Kevin J. Cochener and wife Becky of College Station, Brian T. Cochener of Austin, and Emily Ruth Rigsby and husband Matt of Houston, Hunter Tillery of Longview, John Daniel Tillery of College Station, and his step granddaughter, Jennifer Petru and husband Richard of Cypress. He has four great-grandchildren: McKinley Ruth Cochener, Carolyn Ann Cochener, Addison Petru, and Grayson Petru.
A private burial with full military honors will be at Grace Hill Cemetery. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to a local charity of your choice.
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