Thomas Tilghman Jr.

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  • "Mr Tilghman was amazing in helping my girlfriend and me..."
    - Troy Jones
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Thomas Oswald Tilghman, Jr. "Tom", a resident of Ginger Cove and a native of Annapolis died July 24, 2014 at Ginger Cove Health Center of complications from dementia. He was 88. Originally from the Germantown area of Annapolis, Tom spent 30 years as a resident of Rugby Hall in Arnold and prior to that, Winchester-on- the Severn. Born August 17, 1925, the only child of the late Thomas Oswald Tilghman, Sr. and Miriam Pettit Tilghman, Tom graduated from Annapolis High School with the class of 1942. He attended Syracuse University to begin his military training. Upon his high school graduation, Tom enlisted in the US Army Air Corps but had to wait until he was 18 the following year to report to duty in Greensboro, NC. He attended Syracuse University and continued to Dos Palos for pilot training for BT-13 and had training in Boeing Stearman where he had a solo flight. He was instructed under Skitch Henderson in Merced. Tom was both a single and multi-engine pilot. He graduated from the Advanced Two-Engine Pilot School at Pecos Army Air Fields as a Flight Officer and was an instructor at Pecos. An Original squadron of 32 graduated only four members in 1945, of which he was one of the "45-A". In 1946 he enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study business and began taking gemological studies through the Gemological Institute of America and the American Gem Society. Tom's employment was centered solely around the family-owned business, Tilghman Company, which was started by his father, Thomas O. Tilghman, Sr. in 1928. The store, originally located on Maryland Avenue, is where Tom started working part-time in 1940 while still a student at Annapolis High School. The firm, moved to its present location on State Circle in 1948, where Tom, as the second generation and working closely with this father, became an integral part of the jewelry profession. He found jewelry and gemology to be a natural love to which his dedication and enthusiasm were more than evident. His father became the first Registered Jeweler in the state of Maryland and Tom earned, through the American Gem Society, the title of Registered Jeweler, Certified Gemologist in 1953, and became the first Certified Gemologist Appraiser in the state of Maryland, achieving that honor with the first CGA class in 1983. He recently received his Vintage Certified Gemologist Appraiser Emeritus certificate on January 29, 2014. The family business, obviously his labor of love, included late nights and long hours and with its success he never lost sight of his adamant belief in maintaining high ethical standards and the protection of the customer. He was highly regarded by his peers and was, in his past invited to teach at gemological conclaves. Tom devoted 68 years to working at Tilghman Company, now in its 86th year, is being run by his children, the third generation. In addition to his career Tom was a member and held various positions in a number of clubs and organizations; First Presbyterian Church (1940)- usher, Trustee; Annapolis Yacht Club (1945); American Gem Society - titleholder, guild officer; Yacht Basin Company, Director; Annapolis Rotary Club (1961) Director; Rotary International - Paul Harris Fellow; Chamber of Commerce (1960)-Director; First Federal Savings and Loan - Director; Annapolis Banking and Trust - Director; Salvation Army - Building Campaign Committee; Severn River Association and Southern Maryland Society. His philanthropic efforts included Anne Arundel Medical Center and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation among others. Tom enjoyed European travel, the mountains of western North Carolina, being on or near the Severn River or Chesapeake Bay and anything pertaining to gemology. He was preceded in death in 2006 by his wife Joyce Frost Speissegger Tilghman, whom he married in 1947. He is survived by his current wife, Betty Tilghman; a son, Richard P. Tilghman and a daughter Leslie F. Tilghman both of Annapolis, 2 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 171 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, MD. A private interment was held on August 3rd. In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Hospice of the Chesapeake, 90 Ritchie Highway, Pasadena, MD 21122 or Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 6 Herndon Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403. Arrangements by John M. Taylor Funeral Home. Online condolences may be made to www.johnmtaylorfuneralhome.com



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John M. Taylor Funeral Home
147 DUKE OF GLOUCESTER ST
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 263-4422
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Published in The Capital Gazette on Aug. 10, 2014
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Annapolis, MD   (410) 263-4422
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