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Bill W. Tillery


1938 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Bill W. Tillery Obituary
Tillery, Bill W.
On October 31, 2016, in Tempe, Arizona, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, Bill W. Tillery, died in his home at the age of 78 of complications from Parkinson's Disease. Bill was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, to Willie E. and Bessie Smith Freeman on September 15, 1938. After his father died in 1951, Bessie later remarried and Bill took his stepfather's last name. He leaves behind his loving wife of 35 years, Patricia Northrop Tillery, their daughter Elizabeth Fielding Tillery, and two daughters from his first marriage to Betty, Tonya Lynn Stegall, her children Shelby and Sydney and Lisa Tillery Ginn, her husband Aaron J. Ginn, and their children Jacob, Hannah and Isaac. After high school in Okmulgee, Bill attended Northeastern State University where he earned a Bachelor's Degree (1960), and the University of Northern Colorado where he earned his Master's and Doctorate Degrees (1967). Bill was a full professor at Arizona State University, where he taught for 33 years, from 1973 until his retirement in 2006. After retirement Bill was awarded Professor Emeritus status and remained a part of the ASU Faculty. Before moving to ASU, he served as Director of the Science and Mathematics Teaching Center at the University of Wyoming (1969-73) and as an assistant professor at Florida State University (1967-69). Bill has served on numerous councils, boards, and committees and was honored as the "Outstanding University Educator" at UW in 1972. He was elected the "Outstanding Teacher" in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at ASU in 1995. During his time at ASU, Bill taught a variety of courses related to physics and received many grants for science curriculum development and science teacher inservice training. His lifelong passion for developing science pedagogy contributed to his well-known work with local middle and high school teachers. Some of this work included resources such as SERP (Science Education Resource Page) at ASU, AEE Newsletter (Arizona Energy Education) in conjunction with APS and founding and directing a teacher training program for graduate credit called Portal School where area teachers were trained at the university to teach teachers in their own school districts science education techniques, lessons and activities. Bill authored or co-authored more than 60 textbooks, many monographs and served as editor of newsletters and journals. He won many awards and is named in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World. Outside of his career, Bill was a family man, outdoorsman and an avid ASU football fan. He was known for his quick wit and sense of humor and loved to make others laugh. He had something growing in his vegetable garden year-round and could often be found cooking up something delicious on his grill or in his wok. On the weekends Bill loved zipping around in his boat on Canyon and Apache Lakes as well as relaxing in the tall pines of the Mogollon Rim at his cabin. Bill held many jobs growing up and while going to school, from cook to weatherman to encyclopedia salesman, for which he was named #1 in the nation in 1961. Bill will always be number one in the hearts of his family. We greatly loved and admired him. We will miss him deeply, but know he is safe in the arms of God. There will be a service for Bill at Church of the Epiphany on Tuesday, November 8, at 2:00 pm with a reception following. The address is 2222 S. Price Rd., Tempe, AZ 85282. Contributions can be made in his name to the National Science Teacher's Association (NSTA).
Published in The Arizona Republic from Nov. 5 to Nov. 7, 2016
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