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Lord Eric Tilleson

1959 - 2020
Lord Eric Tilleson Obituary
Lord Eric Tilleson

Eric Cristin Tilleson was born to Calvin and Irene Tilleson (Wright) on May 13, 1959 in Billings, Montana. From the beginning Eric had a cheerful outlook on life, a quick and curious mind, an immense imagination and of course, that wit.

Eric's mother, affectionately known as Rene, was an especially important influence in his life, bringing to him an appreciation of books, a deep compassion for animals and an ear for music. The piano lessons he took from Mrs. Zimmerman, a teacher who lived nearby, took hold of him and never let go. Piano was only the beginning of all the instruments he learned to play, but a keyboard always felt like home.

Eric adored school, from his first days at Eastern Elementary to graduation from Billings Senior High in 1978 and Montana State University in 1983, where he graduated with a degree in Microbiology. In those formative years he found friendships that were treasured and lifelong. Across the road from his childhood home lived Dee. They loved building and playing with model airplanes and ships, but especially the planes which were mostly WWII-era. Eric never once questioned that a girl would prefer playing with model airplanes to playing with dolls.

Eric traveled the world extensively. He went to England on a number of occasions to visit his old friend, Kent, whom he'd met when they were students and bandmates attending MSU. Kent and Eric shared the same sense of humor and love of the bizarre, and Kent claims that Eric sneakily tried to become his actual brother by dating most of his sisters.

Often up for adventure and full of fun, Eric was a great companion throughout his life. In the words of his brother from another mother, Joe, Eric was an bermensch (albeit without any racial undertones). He was a Renaissance man and an intellectual sponge who never stopped learning. He was a diver, with advanced certification, and knew how to fence. He also rowed crew, tried trapeze and did ball-room dancing even though he was known more for his intellectual exploits than his physical ones.

In the mid-1990s, Eric arrived in Seattle where he worked at Wizards of the Coast and then Edmark. He then worked at Microsoft for 14 years (2000-2014) where he was a programming writer who documented Windows C++ Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). As the primary programming writer responsible for Win32 Shell and Windows User Interface (UI) common controls, he generated a prodigious amount of content on the Microsoft Technical Library. He also found the time to mentor other writers who'd sit in his old armchair, stuffed chock full of teddy bears, in his office.

Although he worked on the Eastside, he lived in and loved the city of Seattle and continued to reconnoiter its cultural haunts with friends Todd and Jenny - from cafes in Fremont and stores in Pioneer Square to all the other places that made Seattle a haven for wanderers in the '90s. Through the last 15 years, he carried around lists of places he had to visit just "one more time" before they disappeared.

Eric may have been an introvert but he collected people and shared his passions with us all: concerts, comedy, opera, film, literature, history, science fiction, food, world travel, photography and Susan's annual Oscar Party where he frequently won in the "most correct answers" category. He was the best of friends to Bozhi, helping her to pack and move from her house and to continue to share life with her after she suffered a stroke in 2018. His compassion was unbounded.

One Christmas Eric received a unique and unexpected gift over which he was pleased as punch. He was gifted a lordship from the Principality of Sealand and received a "Registration Deed of Individual Noble Title" signed by Prince Michael of Sealand. Thus, he became Lord Eric Tilleson.

Eric also achieved a certified level of proficiency in the French language which he studied daily. However, his aspirations to live and work in a French-speaking environment weren't realized as he passed away suddenly, November 22, 2019, after a brief illness. Eric's final resting place is the Lake View Cemetery where Bruce Lee is buried. We are eternally grateful to Dr. Karen Koo, and the ICU team at Swedish First Hill, for the round-the-clock care they provided and for their wells of compassion.

Loved ones left behind are Eric's beloved sister, Andre Tilleson, her partner Allen Benson and her children Lee Tilleson and Keith Tilleson. He also leaves behind a rogues gallery of devoted and grieving friends. Although he is no longer of this world he continues to live in all of us who carry forth his spirit.

A Celebration of Life will be held from 1 pm to 4 pm on Saturday, February 22 at The Knife Room in Seattle, details here: https://erictilleson.squarespace.com/

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Lord Eric, please consider The Alley Cat Project, a Seattle based organization where he was a volunteer who was valued for his kindness, patience and effectiveness with felines in need of love. https://alleycatproject.org/donate/ https://funerals.coop/obituaries/eric-tilleson.html
Published in The Seattle Times on Feb. 9, 2020
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