Tharrell Tilgner, 92, formerly of Richland, Oregon died on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at his residence in Winchester, Oregon. A graveside service with the Blue Mountain Masonic Lodge, V.F.W. Post #7847 and Navy Military Honors will be held at Thursday, September 9, 2021 at 11 a.m. at Eagle Valley Cemetery in Richland, Oregon.
Tharrell was born at home December 10, 1929 in Dallas, Oregon. When he was 2 weeks old the family moved to the farm where he would live until he decided to venture out on his own. He had 2 older brothers to lead him on the straight and narrow but they soon found out that Tharrell was not a follower; he had his own ideas about how the things in this world should relate to him. According to his mother, Tharrell was kind of a loner and was always coming up with brilliant ideas about things. Growing up he knew how to recognize danger, his brother wrote. “One day he took some 22 shells out to the woodshed and placed one on the chopping block and said, “I’m going to whack it with the sledge. This is dangerous so get out of the way!” When he wacked it, that bullet bounced all around the woodshed! “
During Tharrell's life he was an athlete, a military serviceman, a federal government employee, a high-level Masonic member, a member of the VFW, the grange and so many other organizations.
Tharrell (while in the Navy) loved motorcycles and he road down in the San Diego desert area a lot. He claimed he even talked to Paul Newman the actor about motorcycles one time. He liked to fish and did that any place he was stationed while in the Navy. He became a Judo black belt while stationed in Okinawa, and placed first in his weight class in wrestling in the all Navy/Marine wrestling tournament. In the Mid 1950’s Tharrell tried out for the Olympic wrestling team and made it to the regionals before being put out. When he left the Navy, he took up hunting and fishing in the Pacific NW. He was given an old yew bow and hunted with it his first year because a friend wanted some company. He enjoyed it so much he was hooked on archery from then on. His love of hunting and fishing caused him to be a conservationist; Fighting for all people to be able to respectfully use the forests in a responsible manner.
Tharrell worked for the Post Office until he retired. He was a lifelong part of the Shriner organization, helping to put on the East West charity football game every year. He was part of the local grange, sat on the city council and was involved with many other civic organizations. In all the community activities he did or supported it was always what he could do for others that drove him, never what they could do for him. He was responsible for the Bikes for Books program at Pine Eagle Schools and for selling the Pine Lodge property to the Baker County Library. It was sold at a huge discount over the appraisal, so that it would be used by the community as a whole vs to a private entity.
One of his children Sharol said she appreciated that he taught her to be independent and think for herself. She said is what she appreciated most about him. At a very young age he answered my questions honestly and I found him a great source of “real” answers about the world. He was very patient, very thoughtful and always trying to do the right thing for the good of all. In many ways I have tried to model myself after him.
Tharrell loved to read about religions and delighted in discussing religious ideas. He was never religious, but was always seeking a higher power that he thought might be there, but wanted proof. Tharrell’s daughter Sharol shared, “While he was at the VA in Idaho, he had a period where he thought he was a minister and convinced the minister for the VA that he was one also. The VA minister called me up and asked me where my Dad’s congregation was located as he wanted to connect with them. I had a good laugh over that and so did the minister”.
He was preceded in death by his wife Dorothy,
Tharrell is survived by his daughter Sharol Tilgner of Roseburg, Oregon; son Karl Tilgner of Pendleton, Oregon; and daughter Beryl Sule of Ohio.
For those who would like to make a memorial donation in memory of Tharrell, the family suggests the Local VFW Post #7847 or Blue Mountain Lodge (Masons) through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services PO Box 543 Halfway, Oregon 97834. Online condolences may be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com