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Tillman L. Jeffrey
1947 - 2010

Vietnam Service Medal

Source:  The Loomis News, 11 Nov 2010

In loving memory of Tillman L. Jeffrey
2/14/1947 – 10/28/2010

Tillman Jeffrey, 63, of Loomis, Calif., went to be with the Lord on October 28, 2010. After a brave two year battle with cancer, he passed away at his home in the loving arms of his wife with his dachshunds and poodle nearby. Tillman was born February 14, 1947, Valentine's Day, in Barnett, Texas. He grew up in El Cajon and the San Diego area.

Following high school, Tillman joined the U.S. Army and began training at a warrant officer flight training program as a Warrant Officer. He served from 1965 to 1971 as a combat helicopter pilot and flight instructor in Vietnam and Texas, respectively. During two Vietnam tours (Bien Hoa, Pleiku, Dak Seang, Phu Hiep, Dak To) he served with his beloved 173d Airborne Brigade (SEP) as well as the 335th Aviation Company (Airmobile Light) "Cowboys," the 1st aviation Brigade, the 335th's armed helicopter platoon (Falcons), and the1st Cavalry Division.

During his first tour, Tillman and his crew spent two hours on the ground in enemy territory awaiting support after his helicopter was shot down. Tillman stated about that episode, "My two hours on the ground more than satisfied my curiosity about the ground war in South Vietnam and I certainly gained a new respect for the Airborne Infantry."

While flying just two months into his second tour, he was shot through the floorboards by ground fire with a 12.7mm round from a DShK heavy machine gun and "medevaced" home. Although modest about his military achievements, Tillman was awarded both the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his gallantry in action.

Tillman loved flying helicopters and after his military career, he flew out of San Diego as a fish spotter for a commercial fishing boat. He met the love of his life, Marita, while visiting friends in San Luis Obispo. They then moved to the SF Bay Area where Tillman worked as a private helicopter pilot and demolition estimator. With his war disabilities catching up to him, he retired to the Central Valley and eventually made his home in Loomis.

Tillman showed his generosity by his willingness to help others. He shared countless hours on home improvement projects with family and loved to shower others with gifts. He had a soft spot in his heart for dachshunds and Military Veterans. Tillman was a lover of art, music, and an avid reader of historical and military books. He was well-read, opinionated, and had a witty sense of humor. Tillman's family meant the world to him and he cherished spending time with them. Many treasured memories were created boating on Folsom Lake with family. He was a member of First United Methodist Church in Loomis, Calif., where he was recently baptized. He was an active member of the 173d Airborne Brigade, Western States, Chapter 10 and served as newsletter editor before his illness. He loved attending Veteran's reunions and parades and conversing with other Veterans.

Tillman is survived by his wife, Marita Jeffrey; his daughter Michelle Bauman and husband Andy; his daughter Laura Staley and husband Chuck; his grandchildren James Staley and Darya and Roman Bauman; his siblings Carolyn Wright, Dennis Jeffrey, Robert "Steve" Jeffrey, and Laurie Hebert and their spouses; and many nieces and nephews. He is survived by his mother, Louise Jeffrey, and preceded in death by his father, Hilmer L. Jeffrey.

Tillman will be deeply missed by his friends and family. His spirit will be honored during a Memorial Service Saturday, November 13, 2010 at 1 p.m. at First United Methodist Church 6414, Brace Road, Loomis. Donations can be made in Tillman's honor to First United Methodist Church, Disabled American Veterans, and Friends of Placer County Animal Shelter.

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