Obituary : Henry A. (Hal) Tilghman
The Rev. Henry (Hal) Ashe Tilghman, 87, died Saturday, June 14, at Valley Terrace in Wilder, Vt., after a brief illness.
Hal was born May 27, 1921, in Morristown, N.J., son of George Hammond and Ruth (Slocum) Tilghman. After graduating from Kent School in Kent, Conn., in 1939 (where he captained the hockey team), he enrolled in Harvard College, graduating in 1942 as a member of the class of 1943. He served as a Lieutenant on the destroyer USS Chauncey in the Pacific theater from 1942 until 1946 and remained in the Naval Reserves until 1963, retiring as a Commander.
Hal received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1948. After several years in private practice in Southport, Conn., he worked in the corporate law department at Aetna Life in Hartford, Conn., until 1957 when he entered the ministry of the Episcopal Church. He graduated from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale in 1957 and was pastor at St. John the Evangelist in Yalesville, Conn., until 1962, and then at the Church of the Holy Communion in South Orange, N.J., until 1966.
Hal served as headmaster at St. Bernard's School in Gladstone, N.J., from 1966 until 1973 and then at St. Anne's-Belfield in Charlottesville, Va., from 1973 until 1974. He was pastor at St. Barnabas in Norwich, Vt., from 1974 until his retirement in 1986. While in Norwich, Hal also worked as an attorney, was a member of the Norwich Lions, and was active in Norwich Senior housing.
Hal first came to Chappaquiddick in 1939 with his Kent classmate and, later college roommate, Bill Pinney. Bill introduced him to his sister, Olive, who for over 65 years was the love of Hal's life. Olive was the daughter of William (Peter) and Margaret Pinney and part of the extended Child, Bird, Bass, Pinney, Turnbull, Knight, Jones and Phinney family - all of whom summered on Chappy, some tracing their Chappy roots to the late 1800s. Hal and Olive were married on December 2, 1942 and after Hal's graduation from law school spent every August on Chappy, first at the Drake's Nest at Pimpneymouse Farm and then at the house they built in 1957 at 145 Chappaquiddick Road. Hal was an avid fisherman, (the first to use a spinning rod at Wasque) who also enjoyed tennis and sailing, particularly with his grandchildren.
Hal and Olive moved to Chappaquiddick full time in 1989 for their retirement years. Hal became a serious gardener and was particularly proud of his asparagus and herbs. He served as president of the Chappaquiddick Island Association (1987 to 1992), putting his consensus building skills to good use. Hal was active in land conservation on Chappy and the Vineyard. He was a life member of the Cape Pogue-Wasque Committee of the Trustees of Reservations. Hal served two terms (1990-1993 and 1996-1997) as President of Sheriff's Meadow and was a founding member of the Conservation Partnership representing Sheriff's Meadow. Hal was an active member of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church as substitute minister and Bible study group participant. Hal and Olive enjoyed life on Chappy and the Chappaquiddick community until declining health required them to move to an assisted living facility in Norwich, Vt., where Olive died from complications related to Alzheimer's in May of 2007.
Hal is survived by three sons, Thomas S. Tilghman of Lakeland, Fla., Peter P. Tilghman of Walton on Thames, England, and Frank H. Tilghman of Wells River, Vt.; two daughters, Lois Burriss of Norwich, Vt. and Ruth Tilghman of Brattleboro, Vt.; twelve grandchildren, five great grandchildren; two brothers, George Tilghman and Richard Tilghman, both of Hobe Sound, Fla.; two sisters, Sally Wardwell of New York City and Anne Lyman of Woods Hole, as well as many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held St. Andrews Church in Edgartown, on July 25 with a reception in the parish hall. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer's Foundation, Alcoholics Anonymous, St. Andrew's Church, or the Trustees of Reservations.