OBITUARY

Kenyon Fred Tillotson

August 22, 1956June 10, 2018

Dr. Kenyon F. Tillotson. 8/22/1956 - 6/10/2018 Survived by his devoted wife, Jackie, loving children: son Bradley, daughter-in-law Megan, and daughter Kelsey. Also survived by sisters Joanne and Susanne, and brother and fellow Marine, Jay. He was preceded in death by his parents Doris and Don Tillotson and brother Don and sister-in-law, Ann. One of five children, his childhood started in New England, then the family moved to the midwest. As a teen athlete, Ken excelled in basketball and golf, but golf became the love he continued throughout his life, and later shared with his son.

Ken went to college for a year but decided he wanted to serve his country. He was proud of his honorable service as a Marine and was retired from the Marine Corps after the accident that left him a paraplegic. He never let his injuries prevent him from actively participating in life. He was an avid wheelchair athlete, playing tennis, basketball, and especially golf. There was never an obstacle that kept him from achieving all that he could attain.

Ken and his parents were living in Michigan when he was injured. They moved to Florida and chose Tampa because of the wheelchair-accessibility of USF and the reputation of medical facilities through the VA. He met Jackie while visiting a good friend in a local hospital. Jackie and a friend were also visiting with his friend. Over the next several days they would meet with each other and talk for hours on end. Days became years and Ken and Jackie decided to spend their lives together. He could not have picked a more loving, devoted wife. They were both strong advocates for all paralyzed people, and Jackie was always Ken’s strongest advocate.

Ken’s life was blessed with his two children, Bradley and Kelsey. There is not a more loved father than Ken. He was active in his children’s lives, from letting them ride on his feet, or lap, to driving them to and from school and the many activities and lessons they participated in. He did everything with a smile on his face and love in his heart.

Ken never let his disability define him. He never dwelt on being in a wheelchair. When you met Ken, you saw the man, not the chair. He had challenges, but he met them headlong and overcame them. He played tennis, basketball, and golf, and was good at them all! He loved playing poker with a group of friends that spanned over 15 years.

Ken was always trying new things. His jobs over the years ranged from installing stereo systems to being a professional photographer, with his own darkroom and theater. He always enjoyed learning new things, which was culminated with his decision to pursue a PhD in Educational Psychology. His dedication to this goal endured through more health challenges, but he persevered and received his degree when he was in his late 50’s. It was one of his accomplishments of which both he and his family, were most proud. He had become a training specialist with the VA, and was eager to share his knowledge and training with others. He was instrumental in his VA to becoming the first in the nation to get 100% compliance of training of employees, and a year before it was required. He earned the respect and love of all his colleagues. Yes, love. Everyone who ever came to know Ken loved him, his sense of humor, his interest in everyone, his interest in life itself. He will be missed.

Services

  • Visitation Saturday, June 16, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, June 16, 2018
REMEMBERING

Kenyon Fred Tillotson

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Connie Malik

June 24, 2018

It was an honor to have known and worked with Ken. He was kind, funny and very smart! I'm so happy and proud that he was able to complete his PhD. We are missing him and he is in my prayers.

Linda Whitney

June 18, 2018

Words cannot express my sadness learning of Ken's passing. Ken was always kind, considerate and a thoughtful co-worker. He touched so many lives. Condolences and thoughts of comfort to his family and friends. He will be missed by all.

Ken Kasan

June 15, 2018

Saddened to learn today of the passing of my old golf partner, Ken Tillotson. For those who don’t know, I used to play golf once a week (poorly) with the other Ken, with the appropriate silliness, malted beverage and hot dogs, trash talk, and tall tales. We took turns beating each other, and played well together (and yes, he did beat me regularly). We started playing with a couple of retirees . Ken hadn’t played in years, but after playing 9 holes with us the first day (which just about killed him), he got the golf bug back. Shorter clubs followed (I could put his pitching wedge in my back pocket to push him up to the greens), and from his wheelchair, he could read the greens like a madman. Yes, I made him play out of the sand traps. We enjoyed the game of golf, took turns as psychoanalyst to each other, and always had fun. I am blessed to have fond memories and inspirational stories to tell because of my time with him.

Enjoy the back nine, my friend.

Bradley Stein

June 15, 2018

Ken was certainly one of a kind. I had the pleasure of having him as my CDL mentor and continued a relationship for years after. His sense of humor, compassion, and ability to ease tension helped me grow as a professional. What stood out about Ken was his patience and extraordinary will power. He made the best out of intolerable medical situations and persevered where most others falter. Ken has made a permanent impression on me and he will forever be missed but never forgotten.

Luis Molina

June 15, 2018

As I was going through my emails this morning I was shocked to see the heading on Dr. Hoffman's email, "Remembering Kenyon T." I've spoken to Dr. Ken several times over the phone especially and met him a couple of other times. But, one thing is for sure he was an outstanding, gentle and patient individual. I thank you Dr. Ken for taking care of getting me into the VA-101 course and many other areas of the education department that required your awesome assistance. We have definitely lost another great leader. I agree with my fellow co-workers, you will surely be missed. Blessings and farewell for now. Rest in peace brother.
Luis Molina
PLMS

Dawn Hudson

June 14, 2018

Peace & love to The Tillotson Family. His love will continue to carry you through your journey.

Rodney Suttles

June 14, 2018

Dr. Ken was always energetic and enthusiastic about helping others and seeing others achieve their goals. I really appreciate all the time he took to make sure my CDL class had the best experience possible. He is truly an asset to any team he is a part of and will be missed. Away but never forgotten. Thank you Dr. Tillotson. -Rodney Suttles, CDL Class of 2017

Simone Jhingoree

June 14, 2018

Ken,
I am very blessed to have met and worked with you during VA 101 and Stepping with Pride; you were very encouraging and kind. Your smile lit up a room, you were always so patient, positive and welcoming to everyone even when we had to stay on task. Ken, you were a tremendous inspiration for many, working on your own "higher" education as you were here at the VA teaching & challenging others to improve themselves. Your contribution of knowledge and support to my life and to many others was a gift, so thank you!! You will be greatly missed and my deepest condolences to your lovely wife & family. Although, your passing was a sudden blow, I don't know if good-bye is the best salutations at this venture but I pray you "Rest well & in Peace".
Simone Jhingoree

Sebrina Posey

June 14, 2018

Words cannot express the shock and sadness with Ken's passing. Ken was such a gentle soul and wonderful co-worker. He touched so many lives. Prayers and thoughts of comfort are being sent to his family and friends. He will be missed.

Alma Serrano

June 14, 2018

Shock and disbelief don't even begin to describe how I am feeling particularly since I just saw you about two weeks ago. I will miss your kindness, your generosity and your Joie de vivre. Rest in Peace Ken. My deepest sympathies to his family and many friends and colleagues. He will be missed.