Harold Tilley of Monticello, peacefully passed away on September 17, 2017 at his home, surrounded by family at the age of 86.
He was born on April 5, 1932, in a boxcar at the Southern Camp in Warren to Sherril E. and Maybelle Hickman Tilley. In January of 1944 he and his family moved to Little Rock where he developed a love for football, basketball, baseball and softball.
Harold graduated from Little Rock High School (Central) in 1950 after playing football for three seasons for Coach Wilson Matthews. He was proud to be a “Wilson Tiger.” He was then called to active duty by the U.S. Navy. After graduating from the Great Lakes Navy Training Center in Chicago, Illinios, he spent the remainder of his two-year career on the minesweeper, U.S.S. Siskin.
At the end of the Korean War, in 1953, he entered Henderson State Teachers College where he lettered in football, basketball and track. It was during this time he made his plans to become a coach. Also, while at Henderson, he met Carolyn Castleberry, his wife of 63 years. Together they raised four children, Donna, Terri, Traci and Scott.
Harold’s athletic and coaching achievements were many. He was proud to have been a part of five high school football state championships, two state runner-ups, two high school basketball state championships and one college AIC football championship. In 1968, he was named Texas High School Basketball Coach of the year. In 1977, he was named Arkansas High School Football Coach of the year. In 1979, he was the Arkansas Inter-Collegiate Football Coach of the Year and the NAIA District Football Coach of the year. Always a Henderson Reddie at heart, he was proudly inducted into the Henderson Hall of Honor in 2012. After retirement, he enjoyed continued relationships with his players and coaches. He believed if you ever played for him, you will forever be a part of his life.
Harold was an avid fisherman, practical joker and storyteller who loved laughter and life. He was of the Methodist faith and most mornings, he could be found swapping stories with the Methodist Church coffee group enjoying all the men’s company and the occasional ribbings that they liked to do with one another.
Harold is survived by his wife, Carolyn; children Donna and Dale Johnson of White Hall, Terri and Keith Montgomery of Monticello, Traci and Michael Bone of Monticello, and Scott and Vicki Tilley of Monticello; ten grandchildren, Eddie Gates, Andy Johnson, Eric Johnson, Kelley Jo Eckhart, Byron Montgomery, Jacob Bone, Jesse Bone, Logan Bone, John Ryan Tilley, Jordan Tilley; ten great-grandchildren and his loving dog, Butch.
He was preceded in death by his parents, S.E. Tilley and Maybelle Tilley; sister, Annette McGlothin; and great grand-daughter, Schuyler Gates.
A funeral service will be held on Thursday, September 20, at 11 a.m. at Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Home in Monticello. Visitation will be held at the funeral home one hour prior to the service. Burial with military honors will be at Pinecrest Memorial Cemetery in Alexander, Arkansas.
Memorials may be made to Monticello Second Chance Fur Dogs, PO Box 322 Monticello, AR 71657 or to Arkansas Hospice.