In Loving Memory of
Virtual Memorial Gathering was held on January 23, 2021 at 4:00 PM EST
Watch the Memorial Service for David Tilson
David Tilson, beloved father, grandfather, and great grandfather, died October 27, 2020 at Goodwin House in Falls Church, Virginia. Born December 19, 1922 in New York City to Abraham and Gertrude Tilevitch, he outlived his parents and sister, Annette Feigin, by several years and his wife Vera by over one year. He is remembered as an exceptional man who was a selfless, vigorous, loving person who deeply cherished family and friendships.
In 1950 David married Vera Kassman and moved to Virginia where they raised three daughters. They shared a love of music, art, travel, and theatre. In their later years, they split their time between Virginia and Connecticut at a summer home where they had another community of friends and family and were able to enjoy the many music festivals nearby.
David graduated MIT in 1943 in chemistry. He immediately entered the Army and served in World War II as a captain in the Army Transportation Corp. After the war, he studied in a Masters program for economics at Columbia University but left before completing a thesis to begin working for Air Force Intelligence in Washington, D.C. The majority of his government career was divided between the Agency for International Development and the National Institutes of Health. David served in several cross-agency task forces for three U.S. Presidents. After retiring from the Government, he worked for the National Academy of Sciences for over 10 years, where he ended as Director of the Institute of Medicine with additional shorter appointments at Project Hope and finally as Executive Director of the Southmark Foundation of Gerontology.
David was a very active philanthropist, both donating and volunteering for many organizations. As a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington he served several times on the Board of Directors, on several ministerial search committees, and during the 1960s, on the Social Responsibilities Committee. In later years, he used his knowledge of Gerontology on the Board of the Culpepper Garden Senior Living Community in Arlington, VA. He worked with the legislature in Richmond to open opportunities for Culpepper Garden to provide affordable retirement housing and helped bring in grants to subsidize that housing.
As an avid amateur photographer, David participated in many exhibitions. He also volunteered his time photographing families and events at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington. He was known as the choir photographer due to his wife, Vera, being the choir director. David published several books including one on Aging in Place, and a fund-raising photo collection of portraits and profiles of residents at Culpepper Garden.
David is survived by his daughters Barbara Tilson (Jerry Roberts), Amy Gurri (Martin), Carole Tilson (Steven Miller); grandchildren Adam Gurri (Catherine Finn), David Gurri, Cati Gurri (Harrison Shindler), Jon Miller (Tiffany Liao), Eugene Miller, Ben Roberts, Kate Roberts; and great grandsons Elliot and Max Gurri.
Memorial donations may be made to Culpepper Garden, 4435 N. Pershing Drive, Arlington, VA 22203.