American Veteran 04

Russell Tilson

March 24, 1928 ~ February 9, 2024 (age 95) 95 Years Old

Russell Tilson Obituary

Russell Elbert Tilson

March 24, 1928 – February 9, 2024

Russell “Russ” Tilson planned to live to 100. He carried the ball to the ninety-six-yard line which is pretty darn good. He passed away peacefully at home.

He leaves behind his partner, Jean Clarke, who lovingly cared for him as he neared the end of his life. His wife Doris (Welling) Tilson and second wife Dorothy (Gerber) Tilson passed in 1999 and 2016, respectively. He is survived by his children, Michael (Susan Forrest), Mary Lynn, Susan (Mike Moffit), and Jane Otten (Joe Otten); granddaughter Jenna (Otten) Byers (Nicholas Byers); and stepson Craig Gerber. Remembering him fondly are Jean’s kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.

Russ grew up in Detroit and came from a large Irish / Canadian family. His parents, Walter and Lillian immigrated to the Motor City in the early nineteen hundreds. He had 6 lively and funny brothers and sisters – and a boatload of nieces and nephews (Tilson and Welling).

Russ was hardworking (42 years at Ford Motor), an athlete, an extraordinary gardener, a lover of the natural world and a serious sports and politics fan. He was opinionated, stubborn and persistent. How else do you make it to 96? He also had an enthusiastic sense of humor, had many lifelong friends, and he loved to dance – even a few weeks before he passed.

We are grateful that he witnessed the Detroit Lions finally make it to the Super Bowl playoffs AND cheer the U of M Wolverines to a win at the Rose Bowl and then a national championship.

He’s in the afterlife hoisting a frosty Stroh’s longneck wishing the Pistons & Red Wings were doing better.  He is hanging out with his family, our mom, Doris Tilson, and Uncle Bob Welling arguing about politics.  A favorite pastime for all. Rest in peace after a good life.

Russ’s ashes will be interned at a short ceremony at Fort Custer National Cemetery on Friday, March 22, 2024, at 10:30 AM. 15501 Dickman Rd. Augusta, MI 49012

A memorial will be held on Friday, March 22, 2024, from 2:00pm to 5:00pm at the Hills of Lenawee Banquet Center, 4110 Country Club Rd, Adrian, MI 49221.  All friends and family are welcome. Please let us know if you can attend at

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Russell’s memory to Hospice of Lenawee County.

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