William Henry Tilley
October 22, 1939 - January 4, 2013
William Henry Tilley, a successful entrepreneur and investor, died Friday of natural causes at his duck club, Venice Island, in Northern California. He was 73. Bill was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Jacmar Companies, a group of companies he formed to pursue investments and operations in restaurants, foodservice distribution and real estate. He was also Chairman of Shakey's USA. Bill was born October 22, 1939 in Los Angeles, one of five children. He remained a resident of Los Angeles his entire life. His father was a successful real estate developer and investor and his mother a businesswoman. He graduated from Montebello High School and USC where he earned his Master's degree. Early in his career, Bill was a Certified Public Accountant and founder of Tilley and Roth which was eventually merged into KPMG. Bill was an active investor and mentor and loved to help grow businesses. He was instrumental in the growth and development of BJ's Restaurants. Bill was an avid car collector and passionate traveler, big game hunter and enjoyed deep sea and fresh water fishing. Bill was also a prolific philanthropist and together with his Foundation funded many projects at his beloved USC, including Traveler, the School's mascot. Bill also actively supported the Medal of Honor Foundation. He served on the board of directors of the Natural History Museum, the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Boys Republic and the board of trustees of the Doheny Eye Institute in addition to many private and public company boards of directors. Bill received many honors during his lifetime including Ernest Young Entrepreneur of the Year, the Elizabeth Burns Lifetime Achievement Award, USC Lifetime Scholarship Award and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He is survived by his wife Nadine, and his children, John and Nicole. The family plans a private mass and in lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Medal of Honor Foundation or Boys Republic.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 10, 2013