John Edward Tilton, Jr. of Ridgeland died Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. Services were held Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, at Raymond Road Baptist Church in Jackson and interment followed in Arlington National Cemetery. Sebrell Funeral Home assisted with the arrangements.

Mr. Tilton was born into a family legacy of military service. He attended Georgia Military Academy and The Citadel before completing his degree at Georgia State University in 1970. He enlisted in the U.S. Army that same year and spent 20 years serving as a pilot and officer, both in the active Army and the Army Reserves, retiring as a Lt. Colonel. He received over a dozen decorations and service badges, including the Bronze Star and the Master Aviator Badge. After his career in the military, Mr.Tilton served his community through the Civil Air Patrol, where he held the rank of Colonel and served in a variety of leadership roles including Alabama Wing Commander, Southeast Region Commander, National Safety Officer, and as a member of the Board of Governors.

He piloted gliders, helicopters, prop planes, jets, float planes, and hot air balloons. He was a Certified Flight Instructor and a corporate pilot for companies such as Energy Helicopters, Magic Express Airlines, and The Southern Company, from which he retired. Over his military and private careers, he accumulated over 18,000 flight hours.

Survivors include his wife, Becky Tilton; daughters, Allison Gale Tilton Clark and Natalie Anne Tilton Lloyd; son, John Edward Tilton, III; stepdaughter, Larissa Greer Bran Hughes; stepson, Gregory Joseph Brand, II; six grandchildren; and sister, Connie Bryant. He was predeceased by his parents, John Edward Tilton, Sr. and Ruby Tilton.

Memorials may be made to The Salvation Army of Central MS or to Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital.