One of the pioneering cattlemen of Putnam County, Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Tilton, Jr., 80, of East Palatka, drove his last herd to the pen on Monday, May 6, 2019. Known to his friends as “Woody”, he was born in San Mateo, Florida in 1938 to Woodrow Wilson Tilton, Sr. and Vella Beulah Valentine Tilton and remained a Putnam County resident his entire life. Woody graduated from Palatka Senior High School, attended the University of Florida and claimed to still be enrolled in the school of hard knocks. He was active in the 4-H and FFA, showed cattle and held various officer positions. In 1974 he received the outstanding Young Farmer award and in 1954 received an all expense paid trip to National 4-H Congress in Chicago for being a state winner in the meat animal program. Woody always had a great passion for cows, horses and dogs. He raised registered Brahmans and crossbred cattle all of his life. In 2009, Woody, his horse and dogs won 1st place in the Florida Cow Dog Competition and in 2014 he was an Honorary Team Captain for the Florida Ranch Rodeo State Finals and Cowboy Heritage Festival. He was also a life-long member of the Florida Cattleman’s Association and the American Brahman Breeders Association. He served over 20 years as Florida Cattleman’s state director and 6 years as a National Director for American Brahman Breeders Association. Woody was also a scholar writer and his unique sense of humor allowed him to be the author of many colorful articles published in the Florida Cattleman’s Journal. Many of his articles were events in his life such as deer and hog hunting, tending cows, raising dogs and horses, school days, being with family and friends in unique situations and the list goes on. Woody also ran a logging business for many years.
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For 57 years, Woody was married to Frances Wilder Tilton, who was from a hard-working Florida Cracker family. Woody credited Frances as being the backbone of everything they endeavored to do. They raised 3 daughters and as Woody used to say, “They have all been good help with the cows and are still producing grand young’uns and Brahman cattle – all are top quality, most are gentle and some are available.” Woody and Frances enjoyed attending their rodeos, ball games, and any other events they were involved in.
Woody was a family man and a life member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints where he served as a deacon, teacher and numerous other positions. He was always given to service to others and expected nothing in return. He helped many others in countless ways over the years. He would look for someone in need and often provided help anonymously. He said many times all he ever wanted out of life was to provide the necessities of living for those who depended on him and help his neighbors do the same. He also said he wished that everyone could have enjoyed as good a life as he has had.
In addition to this wife Frances, Woody leaves to cherish his memory his 3 daughters, Teri Tilton Love (Chuck) of East Palatka, Julie Tilton Glisson (Mike) of East Palatka and Gina Tilton Counts (Johnny) of Hastings, a sister, Judy Tilton Urry of Palatka, 4 brothers, Lawrence V. Tilton (Donna) of East Palatka, John V. Tilton (Karen) of Sparr, David V. Tilton (Suzanne) of El Paso, TX and Daniel V. Tilton (Judi) of Interlachen, 10 grandchildren, Misti Buckles Woods (Travis), Matt Buckles (Casey), Mindi Buckles, Justin Slaughter (Tabitha), Dusti Slaughter, Jody Counts, Cheyann Counts Smith (Ryan), Jett Counts, Casi Counts and Justin Morgan, 17 great-grandchildren and a special “Wyoming Cowboy” Alan Wilder.
Graveside services celebrating Woody’s amazing life will be at 2:00 P.M. Saturday, May 11, 2019 at San Mateo Cemetery with Bishop Johnny Counts conducting.
The family encourages everyone to: bring a lawn chair, umbrella and come in “country attire”.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be sent to the Putnam County Cattleman’s Association, Inc (a 501c3 organization), 156 Litzell Road, Interlachen, FL 32148.
Memories and condolences may be expressed to the family at www.johnsonoverturffunerals.com
Arrangements are entrusted to Johnson-Overturf Funeral Home in Palatka.