Joel "Tom" Tilton


July 5, 1944 ~ July 6, 2023

Born in: Victoria, Texas
Resided in: College Station, Texas

Joel Thomas “Tom” Tilton went to heaven on July 6, 2023 surrounded by his family at his home in College Station, Texas. Tom was born on July 5, 1944 in Victoria, Texas to M.E. “Bo” and Alice Tilton. A Memorial Service will be held on Monday, July 24, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 1200 Foxfire Dr, College Station, TX 77845

Tom was preceded in death by his parents Bo and Alice Tilton and his wife Mary Ann (Petersen) Tilton.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 40 years, Merri; his children Liz White and husband Mike of Omaha; Kristi Zimmerman and husband Casey of College Station; and Thomas Tilton and wife Siera of Cypress. Tom had 5 grandchildren that he dearly loved: Noah and Emily White; Elise and Kyle Cooper Zimmerman; and Beau Tilton, with his 6th grandchild, a baby girl, joining the family in November.

Tom moved with his family to Kilgore, Texas in 1954.  He graduated from Kilgore High School in 1962. He went on to attend the University of North Texas where he earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in 1967.  After college, Tom chose to serve his country by joining the United States Air Force in May of 1967.  Tom was a veteran of the Vietnam War serving there in 1969.  He was also an instructor at Air Force Officer Training School, achieved the rank of Captain in 1970 and continued to serve honorably until 1975.  He was a proud veteran and would often be seen wearing red, white, and blue- regardless of the time of the year.

In 1976 Tom took over his family’s restaurant, Bo’s Bar BQ, in Angleton, Texas.  Tom ran Bo’s with his wife, Merri, for nearly 40 years. He was a prominent member of the Angleton community not only through his work and relationships forged through Bo’s, but also by his service to the local Angleton community.  He was very involved with the Angleton Chamber of Commerce and Served as both Director and Board President throughout 1989-1993. He was a member of the Angleton Hospital Board for multiple years.  He was also involved in various groups that his children participated in including: Angleton Little League, Angleton High School Band Boosters, Angleton Girls Softball Association, Brazoria County Fair Association, Angleton High School Athletics, and a Sunday School teacher.  Tom was recognized for his service to his community and received the Chamber Choice Award, Community Impact Award, and Angleton Rotary Vocational Award among others.

Tom and Merri moved to College Station, Texas in 2012 where he continued to be involved with the local community.  He began work as the Director of Finance for the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce in 2016 and quickly began to build relationships and promote local businesses in the BCS community.

Tom would be quick to tell you that his faith in Jesus and his love for his family were the two most important things in his life.  Tom spent countless hours watching and cheering on his kids and grandkids at any sports, school, band, or other performance he could make it to.  If there was a birthday, holiday or any special event; he would be there. Even streaming live online or watching recorded events of his grandchildren out of state.  He loved to sit around the table playing 42 with family and friends.  In his younger days, he enjoyed fishing and spent many hours on the water.  He always loved catching salt water fish, whether big or small.  Later in life, that hobby turned to golf. While he never met his goal of shooting his age, he did celebrate three hole-in-one’s. He also loved to watch sports, especially following any team his kids played for or rooted for. He enjoyed rooting for the underdog in any sport. But by far, the Houston Astros were always a favorite and we have many family memories cheering for our ‘Stros.  We especially love that our last big family memory was attending an Astros game together and watching an Astros grand slam.

Tom was raised in the Presbyterian church and went on to become an active member of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod in the early 1970’s.  He was a member at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Lake Jackson, Texas; was a founding member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Angleton where he served as a lay minister and spent many years as the president of the congregation; St. John’s Lutheran Church in Angleton; Epiphany Lutheran Church in Pearland and now at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in College Station.  Tom always seemed to have a prayer to solve any problem. He was a firm believer in the grace granted to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and even in his final days he was quick to share that he trusted his Savior, knew where he was going, and was looking forward to seeing Jesus face to face.

The family asks that in Tom’s memory and love for his country, that those attending his memorial service wear red, white and blue.

In Lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation in Tom’s memory to Holy Cross Lutheran Church, College Station; Brazos Valley Cares, a local group that supports veterans; or Hospice Brazos Valley, College Station.







Memorial Service: July 24, 2023 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Holy Cross Lutheran Church - CS
1200 Foxfire Drive
College Station, Texas 77845


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  1. Tom was a cherished member of our extended family of friends. We will miss him dearly and have wonderful memories of so many good times. Merri, Liz, Kristi and Thomas and your dear ones are like family to us. Tom’s memory will live on through you and in our hearts. Prayers for you all.

  2. I was a bit young (both in age and maturity) when Mr. Tilton and his family attended our Church at Good Shepherd Lutheran in Angleton.
    I WAS old enough to know he was a man who wore many hats, and was very respected, and I certainly knew that he loved a good game of golf.
    He has a kind, loving family, of whom my heart goes out to. I pray that they are able to find comfort and solace knowing that Tom is with his Savior.

  3. Tom and Merri were one of the best things about Angleton for so so many years. They both gave so much to everyone they came in contact with! We will always cherish our memories of Tom! The ultimate gentleman and patriot! We know you will rest in peace in the arms of the Lord. Merri, I will never forget your laugh and your love. Please take care of yourself through this sad loss.

  4. Tom was in a Bible Study group at St. John that I was also a member. He was so knowledgeable about the Bible and always added so much. When he and Merri moved out of Angleton, they were missed greatly. I send my prayers and sympathy for your loss.

  5. I’m sad to discover that Tom has passed . We had worked together previously, I hadn’t seen him in several years. I always remember him with a great big smile and he was always happy and nice to everyone. My deepest sympathies to his family.

    Sari Davis

  6. Tom was one of a kind. We counted on his wisdom so much on the Angleton Danbury Hospital board. He didn’t speak much, but when he did, everyone listened… Just like that old TV ad. he was involved in everything in the community and it broke my heart as it did, many others when he had to close the restaurant, it had been a piece of Angleton for so many years that everyone counted on and then Covid came. So sad…. the last time I saw him, at Steve Coleman‘s funeral, I asked him again for THE barbecue sauce recipe! He said it would go into the ground with him Merri, you are sitting on a gold mine, if you should decide to sell that recipe. So sorry for your loss. may he rest in peace and may peace be with all of you. Melba. Beken

  7. Uncle Tom was an inspiring man who served up plenty of treasured memories in my childhood. He was a dedicated man of God, a patriotic American and Vietnam vet, and a devoted family man. I will miss him, but more importantly, I am grateful for having him in my life and I am confident that many others will feel the same way.

  8. Merri and Kristi, I’m so sorry to hear of Tom’s passing. He was such a sweet man and you could always tell how much he loved his grandchildren. What a priceless opportunity for them to have him as long as they did. Prayers are with you and your family.

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