Ronald Franklin Tilton, age 85, was born on March 2, 1937 in Detroit, Michigan and passed in Mesa, Arizona on November 11, 2022. He was preceded in death by his parents, Riley, and Ruth Tilton.
Ron is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Judy, daughters, Lori, Kristi, Traci, and Kerri. Sons-in-law Mike and Todd, 10 grandchildren and 9, soon to be 10, great-grandchildren, brothers Richard and Raymond and their families.
He had a very busy life. In his very early years, he went to military school. Joined the Navy, on November 22, 1954 with two of his close buddies. They were promised that if they signed up together, they would remain together throughout their careers, unfortunately, after boot camp in Illinois, they never saw each other again until after they were out of the service. He spent the next years aboard ship on the Admirals staff. He piloted the Admiral on the ship’s tender back and forth to shore. Most of his time was spent overseas. In 1957, he was given an early discharge. His time would be up soon and they were again shipping out for a long period of time. He could stay in for another 4 years or early discharge. “He chose early.”
After the Navy, he worked in the family-owned business, Tilton Garage Builders. He and his brother Richard built garages for the next few years. In the early 60’s he worked at Chevrolet Warren Division in the garage area. He worked a few years for Oakdale Electric in Michigan, while there he did insulation and electrical work on local homes. He then started on his own business remolding basements which he continued until moving West. In between, on many weekends, he took off for other states where he worked for Hurst Performance attending many of the car races as part of the “Shifty” Doctors Team. When the race cars had a problem with the gear shifters, they were repaired on-site. In 1974, he and Judy moved their family to Mesa, AZ. Upon arriving in Mesa, they started Tilton Maintenance Service, a residential and commercial lawn service. At that time, it was one of the biggest lawn services in the Valley. In the late seventies, early eighties, they closed Tilton Maintenance and opened Arizona Auto Center where he lowered, customized, painted pickup trucks for local dealers. They, also, did window tinting. His daughters all had a hand in working there. That remained open for about 10 years. He then started on a new venture where he drove semi for Sears Racing and then Ford Racing. They were display trailers and he went to all the races across the country. Some years he was gone for more than 250 days of the year. He always enjoyed anything pertaining to cars and reminiscing with all the many friends he made in travels across the country.
Ron had a very eventful life doing what he enjoyed. He, also, had many health issues that he courageously fought for many years. In 1978, he was diagnosed with cancer for the first time. Then in 2003 he had open heart bypass surgery, along with many other surgeries that year. He, again, was diagnosed with cancer in 2015-2016. He fought many other health problems this past year or two, but he continued to fight hard. Sadly, in the late evening of Friday November, 11 (Veteran’s Day) he lost his battle.
Arrangements by Bunker’s University Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.