Herbert Rooney Tillman, of Surrency, passed away peacefully Sunday, July 13, 2014 at home surrounded by his wife and children.
Rooney was the son of Herschel Clifton and Ruth Collins Tillman, also of Surrency. He was born on July 29, 1933 in Appling County near Carter’s Bight on the Altamaha River. He married Peggy Jennell Collins on Sept. 21, 1951. They both attended ABAC and later moved to Savannah where he was employed as an industrial operator, first at Union Bag then at Southern Nitrogen.
In 1963 Rooney moved his family to Belvedere, S.C. and continued his career in industry at Columbia Nitrogen in Augusta, GA. He was actively involved in his church and community, serving as president of the local PTA, speaking for industrial groups and pitching in for community events, school carnivals, band boosters and more.
Following the faith of his fathers, he was lifelong member of the United Methodist Church.
Active as a layman and teacher and member and chairman of the governing board, he was an integral part of all activities and programs of the church and enjoyed the fellowship of the Methodist Men’s Club where he also presided.
In 1978 Rooney accepted a job in Saudia Arabia and began working for Aramaco on the Arabian Sea and after a few years back in the U.S. he returned to Saudia Arabia worked in titanium production at Yanbu on the Red Sea. During this time Rooney and Peggy traveled around the world four times, visiting many places in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Rooney and Peggy returned to Surrency after retirement whereupon he began working full-time on his home, garden and tree farms. Energetic as always, he improved the condition and productivity of his trees, garden and anything he worked on.
The mere facts of his life do not describe the quality of the man and the impact he had on all those who knew him. Rooney was a rare man with an innate honesty and integrity, and as such was an immense source of strength to his family and friends. He was selfless in his dedication to his wife and family and always an excellent provider. He was always willing to help others in need and exhibited this characteristic from an early age, at one point saving his pennies and nickels from his cow milking job to buy shoes for his less fortunate classmates - he maintained this behavior all his life. He had a wonderful, if sometimes corny, sense of humor and could bring smiles to faces even in trying times. As a man he was role model for the young men in his family and community and held the respect of many, not by command, but by the power of his example.
Preceded in death by his son, Herbert Michael, sisters, Verma Tillman, Hazel Thomann, Loualta Tomberlin and his brother, Raiford.
Rooney is survived by his wife Peggy; daughters, Glynn Tillman of Tifton and Anna Tillman of Atlanta; son, Thomas Tillman of Decatur; grandsons, Caleb Tillman, Andrew McKibben, Declan Tillman, Tillman Minter and Aidan Tillman; great-grandson, David Cash Tillman; sister, Nita Henderson and brothers, Lowell and Stanford Tillman.
Memorial services were held Wednesday, July 16 at 2:00 p.m. from the chapel of Swain Funeral Home with the Rev. Steve Long and Pastor Sandra Conley officiating. Eulogies were by Caleb Tillman, Glynn Tillman, Thomas Tillman and Anna Tillman.
Musical selections were rendered by April Hester, Andrew McKibben and Tillman Minter.
Visitation was held one hour prior to the memorial service.
The family wishes to extend their deepest, heart-felt thanks to Spanish Oaks Hospice for the excellent care they gave Rooney during the last months of his life and they would like to give thanks and love especially to Simone Vann White and Gwen Jackson - they went above and beyond duty in their care of Rooney as shown by the love and respect they had for him and the care and love they gave Peggy. It is impossible to quantify how much more bearable they made an almost unbearable situation. They would also like to thank to Linda Smith for all the help and attention she gave during this time.
Donations in memory of Rooney Tillman may be made to the Methodist Children’s Home.
Funeral arrangements were under the direction of Swain Funeral Home.