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Posted on May 1, 2017 | 10:31 a.m.

Elizabeth Jane Tilton of Santa Barbara, 1925-2017

Source: John Tilton

Elizabeth Jane Tilton

Long-time Santa Barbara resident Elizabeth Jane Tilton (Foster) passed away in Eugene, Oregon on April 20, 2017.

She was born Dec. 30, 1925, in Omaha, Nebraska, and spent her childhood there before moving to Chicago in 1942.

An outstanding student, she was a finalist in the national Westinghouse Science Talent Search in her senior year in high school, earning a trip to Washington, D.C. She received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from the University of Illinois, graduating with highest honors. She went on to earn a master's degree, also from University of Illinois.

While in grad school, she met her future husband, former UCSB Geology professor Dr. George Tilton, who was a student in a class that she was a teaching assistant for. They moved to Santa Barbara in 1965.

After marriage, she dedicated herself to raising children, of which she had five. When the children were grown, she became more active in her church (Trinity Episcopal), and was ordained as a lay minister in 1986, taking Communion to people who were unable to attend church.

In later years, she became a family history researcher extraordinaire, spending years putting together volumes of family history, and helping many others who were trying to do the same for their families.

She lived the last dozen years of her life with CLL leukemia, far outliving her life expectancy despite not receiving treatment of any kind. She was amazingly gracious and lucid to the very end.

She touched the lives of many people in many ways, and was a tremendous role model and leader for her family.

Ever devoted to her family, she is survived by daughters Linda (Bruce) Sisson of Eugene, Oregon, and Helene O'Connell of Eureka, California; and sons David (Coral) Tilton of Portland, Oregon, and John Tilton of Carpinteria. She is also survived by seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

She was pre-deceased by husband George Tilton and daughter Elaine Tilton.

Though here at journey's end I lie

In darkness buried deep,

Beyond all towers strong and high,

Beyond all mountains steep,

Above all shadows rides the Sun

And Stars for ever dwell:

I will not say the Day is done,

Nor bid the Stars farewell.

— J.R.R. Tolkien


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