Cover photo for Jerry Keith Tilley's Obituary
Jerry Keith Tilley Profile Photo
1940 Jerry 2023

Jerry Keith Tilley

January 2, 1940 — October 3, 2023


Jerry Keith Tilley, age 83, of Thornton, passed away at Windsor Manor Healthcare Residence on Tuesday, October 3, 2023.

A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 14, 2023, in the Groesbeck Funeral Home Chapel, with Pastor Ben Huebner of the First Methodist Church of Groesbeck and the Thornton Methodist Church officiating.

Honorary pallbearers will be Waydell Reynolds, Jack Foshee, Jeff Adams, Joe Reynolds, Gene Alston, Thomas Smith, Craig Champion, Barnett Lown, Marvin Henderson, Jim Longbotham, Jimmy Roe, Wade Wiley and John Favors.

Jerry was born on January 2, 1940, in Thornton to Lester “Leck” Idelle Tilley and Virginia Macelle (Fox) Tilley.  He grew up in Thornton and attended school there, graduating from Thornton High School in the Class of 1958.  Jerry was active in all sports available including football, track and volleyball.  He was also a student in Barnett Lown’s Ag class.

Jerry was blessed with two sons, Keith Lane Tilley and Mark David Tilley, during his 22-year marriage to their mother, Martha Lewis.

After graduating from high school in 1958, Jerry attended Navarro College in Corsicana, driving the college bus for students from Thornton, Groesbeck, Mexia and Wortham.  He received his Associate degree in 1960 and then attended Sam Houston State University, earning a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Arts in 1962.

His first job teaching and coaching was at South Junior High School in Waco, commuting daily.  Two years later, a position became available at Groesbeck ISD and he taught and coached there for the remainder of his career.  He taught drafting, wood shop and in other areas as needed.  He taught Drivers Ed for many years.  He coached Junior High football, and his teams were very successful.  Jerry also served as a football scout for the high school coaches.  Jerry earned the love and respect of his football players.  He was lovingly called “Coach” by many of his students and athletes.  Jerry retired in 1998 after a career that spanned thirty-five years.

Jerry loved his farm and raising cattle.  Keith and Mark helped with the cattle operation even though they did not share the “love” that their dad had.  After the boys were on their own, Jerry continued to take care of the operation by himself with a lot of help from Keith.  Jerry sold his cattle a short time before his death.  

He was an avid hunter with many deer trophies as proof of his expertise.  He also loved to fish, especially fishing for trout in Colorado.  He very seldom missed a summer trip there, often accompanied by his children and grandchild.  He was an expert water skier and taught his sons to water ski at a very early age.  The boys’ Pappy refused to accompany them to the lake for fear that his grandkids would surely drown.

Jerry’s two sons loved and respected their dad and say that he was very strict and tough on them but taught them to have an excellent work ethic and to show respect to others.

Jerry was a member of the Thornton Methodist Church since early childhood and participated in a very active MYF group during his teenage years.

Jerry was preceded in death by his parents, his younger sister, Barbara Ann Burleson and his brother-in-law, Don Driscoll.

He is survived by two children and their spouses: Keith and Diane Tilley of Groesbeck and Mark and Laura Tilley of Houston.  His grandchildren are: Travis Lane Tilley and Tatum Jane Tilley of Houston and step grandchild, Alan Brewer of Groesbeck.  He is also survived by his brother, David Tilley of Waco and sister, Kay Driscoll of San Antonio; brother-in-law Danny Burleson, and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family has requested that any Memorial donations be made to the Thornton Methodist Church Building Fund, (P. O. Box 382, Thornton, TX 76687.)


To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jerry Keith Tilley, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, October 14, 2023

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Groesbeck Funeral Home, Inc.

1215 E. Yeagua St., Groesbeck, TX 76642

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