Obituary for Major William Knewl Tilmon, U.S. Army (Ret.)

Major William Knewl Tilmon, U.S. Army (Ret.) age 89 of Max Meadows, VA, passed away Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at his home surrounded by his family and friends.  Born August 18, 1932 in Steele, Missouri, he was the son of the late Knewl William Tilmon and Mary Pearl Teeter Tilmon.  He was also preceded in death by two daughters, Debra L. Tilmon and Laurie E. Williams; brother, Charles E. Tilmon; grandson, Carl E. Davis and granddaughter, Crystal Brazil.

Tilmon joined the U. S. Army at the age of 17, attending basic training at Ft. Benning, GA after which he attended Airborne School.  He also attended Ranger School and wore that badge proudly.  After volunteering for a Paratroop-Ranger Unit, he spent a tour in Korea during that conflict.  He was later assigned to another paratroop unit where served as a Master Sergeant.

Tilmon taught Paratroop jump training at Ft. Bragg, NC and Ft. Campbell, KY where he excelled and was selected as Enlisted Aide to the Commanding General 101st Airborne Division.  He was the personal driver for the General, enlisted advisor and made every jump with the General.  He made such an impression; the general recommended that Tilmon attend Infantry Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Ft. Benning, GA, which he completed in 1958.  He returned to the 101st Airborne Division, serving as a platoon leader and Commandant of the Aerial Delivery Air Transportability Schools.  Tilmon served in Alaska four years, commanding three companies, one of which was an Airborne Ranger Company.  Upon assignment to Ft. Lee, VA, he was instructor of Infantry tactics at the Quartermaster Officer Advanced Course, and commanded a 400-man Riot Control Company.  After two years Tilmon was sent to Vietnam and became Senior Military Advisor for Military Operations and Security for a Province of more than 5,000 sq. miles.  Tilmon advised a Vietnamese Commander of 14,000 soldiers and seamen, with many specialty teams, a major hospital and 35 other medical stations.  Tilmon returned to the U.S. and was selected to command a Reception Station at Ft. Dix, NJ and run a pilot program re-establishing the Army’s image.  Major William K. Tilmon retired from the U. S. Army in 1971 with 20 years of service, having received numerous metals, badges, and awards for his service, including the Armed Forces Honor Medal, First Class, presented by the Government of Vietnam.

Tilmon worked in industry as a personnel manager, followed by a position working with mentally ill children, and finally as a health care administrator prior to going to work for the Federal Government as Project Manager for development of water purification units which were placed off shore to make drinking water from salt water.  Before retiring with 20 years of civil service in 1997, his final project for the Government was development of the computerized Maintenance Management System for the Department of Defense.

Tilmon relocated to Max Meadows, VA to continue his life time joy of breeding and raising Tennessee Walking Horses and pursuing his dream of operating a Guide and Outfitter Service for those who enjoy trail riding and camping.  His friends viewed Tilmon as a modern day cowboy and fondly referred to him as “the Duke” because of his love of horses and resemblance to John Wayne.

Relationships were the most important thing in life to Tilmon and he was happiest when talking with others.  He had a great outlook on life and always shared that “grass has two sides and as long as you are able to look at the right side of the grass, anything is possible!”  Tilmon was active in civic and community organizations, coaching Little League Football and Baseball for many years in Prince George Co., VA.  He also sponsored multiple youth activities including trail rides for handicapped children and for the blind.  Tilmon was a faithful member of the Pulaski Seventh Day Adventist Church and hosted Bible study in his home for eleven years until COVID issues prevented gathering for the studies.

Tilmon enjoyed shaping the people and world around him in a positive manner; he led a full life from
his amazing career, his service to God and country, to a large family which he loved dearly, and many interesting hobbies.  He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and community. 

He is survived by his: 

Children – Teresa (Arthur) McKinney – IN; Pamela R. Pemberton – CA; Karen (Greg) Lane – CA, William Patton (Giovanna) Tilmon – SC

19 Grandchildren, 14 Great Grandchildren, 3 Great, Great Grandchildren 

Special Friends – Cindi Douglas – Newport; Dari Jenkins­ – Pulaski; and Dana Newmeyer- Hopewell

Funeral services will be held 2:00 PM – Friday, October 1, 2021 at the Bower Funeral Home-Chapel, Pulaski with Dave Weigley, President, Columbia Union Conference of Seventh Day Adventists officiating. Interment will follow at the Smythers Family Cemetery, Allisonia.

The family will receive friends one hour before service time at the Funeral Home.

To sign William’s online guestbook, visit

Bower Funeral Homes, Pulaski is handling the arrangements for the family.