LCDR Donald O. Tilton, 85, of Portland died Friday, December 7, 2012 at his home.
Mr. Tilton was born in White Lake, So. Dakota, a son of Otto A. and Sylvia A. Tilton and attended schools there and in California.
A veteran of WWII, he joined the US Merchant Marine at age 16 and sailed as an able body seaman, unable to join the regular service at that time due to his age. At the end of WWII he enlisted in the US Navy and was a participant at Bikini Atoll Atomic Bomb Crossroads Shot on July 1, 1946. In May of 1948 he joined the US Coast Guard. During his career Mr. Tilton received the Pacific War Zone Bar, WWII Victory Medal, US Coast Guard Medal, National defense Service Medal, Command at Sea Insignia, Coast Guard Cutter Man Insignia as well as many letters of achievement form the US Merchant Marine, US Navy, and the US Coast Guard.
Early in his Coast Guard career as a Chief Boatswain Mate Mr. Tilton was stationed at the US Coast Guard Academy. While there he was responsible for waterfront maintenance and all the sailboats for the cadets, and served as a sailing instructor. Upon his promotion to Warrant Officer he became Commanding Officer of the USCGC Yankton stationed at the Coast Guard Base in So. Portland. The Yankton was involved in many search and rescue operations from Maine to Cape Cod. As a Chief Warrant Officer he was assigned the duties as Operations Officer at Group So. Portland and Group Boston. Upon appointment as a Lieutenant Commander he was assigned as the Executive Officer Port Safety Station and Alternate Captain of the Port, Boston, Mass before his retirement in 1975.
Mr. Tilton was a lifetime member of the national chapter of the Retired Officer Association, a member of the National US Coast Guard Chief Warrant association, Local Chief Warrant Club, a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 832 of So. Portland, a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans Assoc., and a lifetime member of the American Legion. He was also a member of the National Association of Radiation Survivors and the AARP.
As a civilian Mr. Tilton was president of Tilton Company Inc. Security and maintenance Contractor. He dissolved his company due to health reasons. He was then employed by Seventy Five State as director of Engineering for thirteen years. In 1988 he was selected as employee of the year. He received an Award of Merit from the State of Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation in 1988 and many other recognitions and thanks from the Portland Regional Vocational Technical Schools and Cumberland County Training Center. He enjoyed working with young people, especially those with disabilities.
Mr. Tilton and his wife enjoyed trips in their motor home to Florida, Arizona and California. During his military and civilian life they had travelled through or stayed in 48 of the 50 states. He also enjoyed computers, wood and metal working and working on his vehicles and boats.
Predeceasing Mr. Tilton was his loving wife Gilda A. (Fields) Tilton.
Surviving are four sons, Blaise A. of Lewiston, Michael D. and his wife Jean of Gorham, Craig M. and his wife Dawn of Hollis and Keith A. of Lewiston; a brother Jerry M. and his wife Tila of Orangeville, CA, 14 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
A period of visitation for Mr. Tilton and his family will be held this Wednesday, December 12, 2012 from 6 to 8 pm at the Jones, Rich & Hutchins Funeral Home, 199 Woodford St. Portland, ME; where an 11:00 am funeral service will be held on Thursday the 13th with burial to follow at Calvary Cemetery in So. Portland.