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Celebration Mourns Loss Of Director Emeritus



 

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, is mourning the loss of Director Emeritus, Henry C. Tilford, Jr. Tilford passed away at the age of 90 on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at his home Shelbyville, Tenn following and extended illness.

Tilford was a native of Shelbyville and attended Webb School in nearby Bell Buckle, graduating in the class of 1935 and serving on its board of directors at the time of his death. He is a 1939 graduate of Georgia Tech, where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He served his country in the United States Navy during World War II where he was a Lieutenant Commander aboard the USS Monterey and was a shipmate of former president Gerald Ford. At The Celebration, he served in the official capacity of director from 1960-1988.

In addition to an extensive business background, Tilford was active in providing "Camp Cannisue" for local Girl Scouts, served as the 31st president of the Shelbyville Noon Rotary Club and is a Paul Harris Fellow. He also donated funds to purchase the furnishings for rooms in the coronary care and intensive care units of the Bedford County Medical Center in memory of his parents.

As a Celebration Director, he was a driving force in the conception and building of Calsonic Arena and the Blue Ribbon Circle Club. He served two years as chairman of The Celebration board.

"Henry was a great visionary with great ideas," said Thomas. "He was the inspiration for many innovations at The Celebration throughout the years. He will be remembered for his years of service to The Celebration and many other civic projects throughout the community. He was truly a great man. To me he was a friend, mentor, and confidant. He was one of the most vocal promoters the world championship horse show has ever known."

In 2004, Tilford received the Franklin Yates Lifetime Achievement Award from the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce. In describing the criteria for this award, the chamber states, "This award is presented to someone whose life’s work has made a significant positive influence on the community. The hallmarks of the recipient shall include leadership, consistent commitment, and a long term personal investment of time and talents to the community."

In 2006, he was recognized by The Celebration, at its Hall of Fame Banquet, for a lifetime of support.

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