Obituary of Joseph K. Tillinghast
Age 92, Joe passed away at the Bath VA Medical Center on Saturday, December 16, 2023.
Joe was born in Elmira, New York and was the youngest son of Herman Clyde and Julia Kearney Tillinghast. He was predeceased by his wife of 60 years Margaret “Peg” Cavanaugh Tillinghast; his son Martin Tillinghast and his three brothers, Dick, Robert and Jack Tillinghast.
Joe is survived by his children - Sheila Whitmore (Bill); John Tillinghast (Sharon); Mary Margaret McCann (Mike); Kevin Tillinghast and David Tillinghast. His grandchildren - Jayson Whitmore (Nuno); Kindel Turner-Nash (Malik); Sarah Tillinghast; Mary Stevens; Amy Lamb (Jeff); Brian McCann (Sarah); Jessica Peters; Jayme Stanley; Hannah Tillinghast and Lyndzi Tillinghast-Hall. He is also survived by his daughter-in-law (Martin’s wife) Allison Tillinghast; his brothers-in-law Robert Walker and James Morgan and a host of great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Joe grew up in Elmira and attended Southside High School. He entered the US Army at the age of 17 and was shipped overseas to Korea as a Combat Medic when he was 18.
In Korea Joe saw action in 5 campaigns and he received the Korean Service Medal with a 5 Star Cluster, the United Nations Korean Service Medal and a Combat Medic Badge. While there he witnessed firsthand some of the worst examples of man’s inhumanity to man. He survived this ordeal with his own humanity intact and he dealt with the nightmares spawned by the memories of what he endured. This past November Joe was given a Quilt of Valor from the Quilts of Valor Foundation honoring his service to a grateful Nation.
After leaving the Army, Joe worked as a US Post Office postal carrier for 30 years, retiring in 1986. During those years he also had many side jobs to help pay the bills associated with raising 6 children. Shortly after his retirement from the Post Office, Joe and Peg moved to Bonnie Shores Senior Living Community which is located in Lakeland, Florida. Joe soon became the president of the community’s Residential Council and was later hired to manage the community, a job he held for well over 20 years. After moving to Florida both Joe and Peg took up golf and they loved the game. Joe even has a hole in one on his resume. Joe was also a longtime member of the Elmira Elks Club. Because of declining health, Joe moved back to Chemung County five and a half years ago and he resided at Apple Ridge in Horseheads.
A Mass of Christian Burial for both Joseph and Peggy will be held at St. Mary’s Church in late Spring of 2024 on a date to be determined. At that service, Joe will be accorded military honors. He and Peggy will be buried at St. Peter & Paul’s Cemetery. Those wishing may remember Joe with a donation to Meals on Wheels of Chemung County, 409 William Street, Elmira NY 14901, or the Southern Tier Food Bank, 388 Upper Oakwood Avenue, Elmira NY 14903.
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In Loving Memory
1931 - 2023
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