Solomon H. Tilles

July 19, 1932March 25, 2021

Solomon H. Tilles, of Middletown, and formerly of Old Lyme, and Storrs, passed away on March 25, 2021, at home.

He was born into a Yiddish world in the Bronx, and attended public elementary and junior high school and a year at Stuyvesant High School. In 1946, his family traded the city for a farm in New Jersey, and he graduated from Toms River High School in 1949 and Rutgers in 1953. After military service, he married Elinor Cohen in 1956, and then resumed his education. He earned a master's degree at Columbia in 1958 and then a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. His first teaching position was at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa, and then he taught at the University of Connecticut from 1963 until his retirement in 1997. While he was at UConn, he established foreign study programs in Mexico and Spain, and organized programs that linked the UConn Spanish department with high schools throughout the state. For many years, he was an active member of the Jewish community in Storrs at the UConn Hillel, and then was an active member of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek in Chester.

He is predeceased by his wife; his daughter, Cynthia; and his grandson, Samuel. He leaves his sister, Estelle Ginsberg, of Brunswick, Ohio; sons Peter and his wife Lori of East Meadow, New York, and David, of Middletown, Connecticut; two grandsons; two great granddaughters; cousins, nieces, nephews, and their families.

A graveside service will be held on Tuesday, March 30th at noon, at Duck River Cemetery, McCurdy Rd., Old Lyme, CT. Donations may be made to Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek Rabbi Discretionary Fund, 55 East Kings Highway, Chester, Connecticut 06412.


  • Graveside Service

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021



Solomon H. Tilles

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Rosa Helena Chinchilla

March 29, 2021

I came to UCONN in 1990 and Sol Tilles was my role model. He always walked over to the sandwish shop and he would get a big deli sandwich with a debbie cupcake. He was one of the few professors teaching Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes, and on Friday his office was the only one open for business. He was there always talking to students about where they were going next. When he retired he gave me a book careers abroad to hlep students. He gave me his slides from Spain. We used to travel to Framingham to meet with the consortium members, and the whole way there we would tell tales of study abroad. Sol loved Granada, and he told me to leave students in El Torcal, a big boulder park in the mountains of Antequera. He loved the Alpujarras, and was always talking abut his trips with Ellie and the students. All of this is just to remember the model professor that Sol was: undergraduate students were his priority and he spent hours talking to them. I grew up in Long Island, and so we would reminiss about New York, I remember he told me about how his mother used to cook a big batch of horseradish, and your eyes would tear with the smell. We visited them in Old Lyme, and we chatted in their beautiful sun room, and he took the kids to eat the asparagus in the backyard. Thank you Sol for all your council .

Samuel Schrager

March 28, 2021

I was saddened to read of Sol's passing. It has been many years since we last saw one another or spoke. I always considered Sol to be a "Titan." I knew him first through his participation in the then UConn Hillel Congregation of Storrs. When I was a teenager living in Storrs my father was a volunteer for the Congregation and the student Hillel program. He did a lot of work on building repairs and renovations and he often commented on Sol's helping with the physical labor which was unusual for faculty members. Years later when I became involved in Congregation and Hillel program leadership Sol was always ready to jump in and help. I also had the honor of representing Sol and Elie in some legal matters. My condolences to their family. They left you with a wonderful legacy. SLS