Robert Duane Tiller died on May 22.
He was born on June 10, 1933, in Nampa, Idaho, to Bill and Hollis Tiller. He was the third of six children, joining brothers Roger and Raymond, with brother Ron and twin sisters Joyce and Janice to be born later.
Tiller’s father moved the family often, seeking a better life. They moved from the dirt floor tents in Quin, Nev., while searching for gold, to the ship yards in Berkley, Calif., to Harney County, where he cut railroad ties, fabricated sheet metal, dug water holes, and finally settled on the grocery business.
Tiller attended grade school in Nevada, Prairie City and Burns. He graduated from high school in Burns in 1951. In February 1952, he joined the United States Coast Guard and was stationed in Alameda, Calif. He was then on board a ship in the Bering Straits, out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. He was discharged due to back injury in August 1953.
On July 30, 1954, Tiller married Larraine Myree Lambert in Eugene. They started their married life living in a small rental house in Burns while he was working for John Wooster and Boyd Stone in construction.
Tiller worked for Bill Bumett, driving a gas logging truck in Seneca, until a head-on collision ended his log-truck driving career. He then moved back to Burns, hauling rock for Harney County and Arntz Construction. In 1956, he went to work for his father in the grocery business. In 1979, the family built a new store called Tiller’s IGA, where Erickson’s Thriftway is today.
Hard times came to the family business when the Edward Hines Lumber closed, along with the radar base. This forced Tiller to change professions, starting with driving a water truck for LT&L, and then working for the U.S. Postal Service, delivering liquid supplement for ACW Rental, and finally working as a weed sprayer for the Harney County Road Department, where he retired after six years in 1996. Of all his various jobs, he enjoyed the last one the most.
The first home that Tiller and his wife owned was a small, brown house on South Grand. From there they moved to the home Tiller lived at in Hines until the time of his death.
He enjoyed the great outdoors — hunting, fishing, prospecting and riding his four-wheeler. Tiller also enjoyed country music, was a pilot and a poet.
Tiller is survived by his wife of nearly 54 years, Larraine; daughter, Karen Weir and husband Rick of Burns; sons, Rocky Tiller of John Day and Randy Tiller and wife Connie of Hines; brothers, Ray Tiller and wife Vina and Ron Tiller and wife Aeola; and sister, Janice Case. He is also survived by grandchildren, Karrie Weir, Katie Dascomb and husband Leo, Mathew Tiller, Robby Tiller and wife Ashley, and Brandon Tiller; and great-grandchildren Max Dascomb, Nathan Allen Tiller, Jaxon Ellis Tiller and one to be born.
Tiller was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Roger; and sister, Joyce.