Eric Dean Tilley, born Feb. 24, 1968, of Lovell, died at his home in Powell on July 22, 2019, closing the book too soon.
He was fiercely loved by his family and so many friends. He was larger than life and he loved larger than that. He was a tireless provider and protector and considered his sons and daughter to be his greatest accomplishment; everything he did centered around them.
Second to that, he was deeply proud to be an American and serve his country in the U.S. Marine Corps upon graduation from Powell High School in 1986, until honorably separating from active duty in 1993.
During that time, he married his childhood sweetheart Kristin Baker on May 22, 1990. After his discharge from military service, Eric and Kristin returned to Powell to farm for his in-laws and raise their three kids believing it to be the best place and way of life to give them deep, stable roots.
It is difficult to sum up 51 years of rich, wonderful life in paper and ink, but it includes coffee, beer and bourbon! An enormous and quirky sense of humor. A curiosity and insatiable appetite for reading and learning, facts and trivia. Music and guitars, guns and knives, board games and movie nights and camping weekends- all with his tribe. A man who will always be his mama’s little Cub Scout, even as an Eagle Scout; his dad was his first hero; he was indisputably the best big brother, ever – just ask. He enjoyed and was especially good at being the cool uncle to his nieces and nephews: Danell and Makenna Branstetter of Powell; Mason (Krista) Simmons and Kenzi (Dakota) Stewart of Billings, Montana; Eliana, Ethan, Elora and Ezria Graul of Portland, Oregon; Xander, Jack and Madi Baker of Powell.
Interwoven through everything he did was a commitment and loyalty to everyone he called family and friends.
He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Loren and Leona Tilley of Kane and Deaver, and maternal great-grandparents Carl and Alta Johnson of Thermopolis.
He is survived and intensely grieved by his wife Kristin; son Luke and daughter Elizabeth, both currently of Laramie; and son Mark of the family home; parents Melvin and Sherry Kay (Herron-Perry) Tilley; in-laws Max and Nancy Baker, all of Powell; sister Vanna and her husband Ray Branstetter of Powell; sister Amanda and her husband Dave Smart of Livingston, Montana; brother Calvin and wife Andrea of Boise, Idaho; brother- and sister-in-law Keith and Valerie Baker of Powell; and sister- and brother-in-law Kathryn and Karl Graul of Portland, Oregon; and the special Jarhead brothers and sister who remained life-long compatriots and confidants.
A graveside service with military honors will be held Friday, Aug. 9, 2019, at 10 a.m., at the Crown Hill Cemetery. Family and friends are wanted and invited, with a gathering to follow at the home of Max and Nancy in Eric’s honor, because life is precious and those connections made by love are everything. The story goes on, and we love and miss you more than we could fathom, Eric.