Guilford County Commissioner Pat Tillman and the residents of North Carolina all experienced a big loss on Saturday, Feb. 4 – the passing of Jerry W. Tillman, a longtime public servant and former North Carolina senator.

Jerry Tillman, who was born in 1940, served nine terms in the NC Senate before retiring in 2010.  He represented the state’s 26th Senate District, serving the people of Guilford County and Randolph County.

Born in Archdale, Jerry Tillman worked in the school system where he served in various capacities as a teacher, coach and school administrator.

His son, Pat Tillman, who’s now serving his first term as a Guilford County commissioner, has maintained his father’s sense of public service; a Republican like his father, the son served on the Guilford County Board of Education before being elected last November to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.

The Board of Commissioners held its annual retreat late last week, however,  Pat Tillman did not attend for what are now obvious reasons.

On Monday, Feb. 6, Pat Tillman said, “We are heartbroken but he’s not struggling anymore.”

The loss was felt at the highest levels of state government. After Tillman’s passing, NC Governor Roy Cooper tweeted, “Senator Tillman was a dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly for his community for many years. Our prayers are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

On Facebook, there was an outpouring of support for the Tillman family, and, on Sunday, daughter Mary Elizabeth Tillman Barwick posted, “Yesterday, Saturday, February 4 at 6:58 p.m. the greatest man I ever knew went to see his love, my mom. As happy as I am for him my heart has shattered. You were a good and faithful servant to all you touched. I’ll have more words as the days pass. We love you Daddy.”