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Ritchie William Tilson

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Ritchie William Tilson Obituary
Ritchie William Tilson

Husband, father, engineer, woodworking craftsman. Born in 1919, Ritchie William Tilson was raised in Vancouver, British Columbia. At 21 he chose America citizenship while working for Boeing Canada and migrated to Seattle to work for Boeing as a B17 tool engineer, shop foreman, and then manager during WWII. He married his wife of 67 years, Lorna McNair in Seattle. Ritchie and Lorna resided and raised their family in Clyde Hill, WA for more than 50 years.

After the war Ritchie put himself through college at the University of Washington where he obtained a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and continued with post graduate studies. He started as an engineer at Standard Oil in San Francisco, California, but soon returned to Seattle with his wife to work for Boeing. During his 38-year career at Boeing, Ritchie was the Director of Material for 10 years and Director of Engine Management for 13 years. Through these roles, he travelled extensively to supplier sites throughout the world beginning with propeller, then jet aircraft. His favorite aircraft was the 747. He was in charge of providing the newly designed engines for the plane, including guaranteed thrust performance levels never attained previously. He retired as the Director of Engine Management in 1982.

After retiring, Ritchie and Lorna traveled for several years in the US and international destinations, including China, which had just opened to foreign travelers. He spent many summers and holidays at their Whidbey Island, WA vacation home. In the fall of 1983 the Boeing Museum of Flight opened its doors with the single historic Red Barn building. Eager to share his interest in aviation history, commercial aviation, and aircraft engines, Ritchie became one of the 21 "pioneers" volunteering as the Museum of Flight Docent Corps. The pioneers researched and compiled the history of these treasured artifacts and led the first tours. When the Great Gallery opened in 1987, the docents used this research to put together the storylines that were scripted for the displays and public tours. Ritchie continued to lead tours and work with the museum and was the last of the original Museum of Flight pioneers to retire after 25 years of service.

Ritchie was very active at Bellevue and University Presby-terian churches as a Sunday school teacher, deacon, and elder. He died November 29, 2012 at the age of 93 surrounded by his family. He was preceded in death by his sister, Cynthia, of Vancouver BC. He is survived by his wife Lorna and their four children Wayne (Lori); Dale (Joan); Jean (Paul Wiegand), and Doreen (Greg Farrar), as well as eight grandchildren (Erin, Lisa, Ken, John, Emily, Mallory, Joe, Megan), and one great grandson (Alexander).

Memorial services will be held at the Covenant Shores fellowship hall on Sunday December 16, 2012, 3pm, located at 9107 Fortuna Drive, Mercer Island, 98040. (206) 268-3000.

An honorary donation can be made in the name of Ritchie W Tilson to the Compass Mission on line at https://secure3.convio.net/uwkc/site/SPageServer? pagename=donate_honorary& JServSessionIdr004=h9cu0 e7t7c.app332b
Published in The Seattle Times on Dec. 9, 2012
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