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Alvin Tilghman, retired state licensing official, personnel manager and active Mason, dies

An active Mason, Alvin Tilghman belonged to the Easton Star Lodge, now Prospect Lodge.
An active Mason, Alvin Tilghman belonged to the Easton Star Lodge, now Prospect Lodge.

Alvin Tilghman, a retired personnel manager at the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation who was active in Masonic circles, died Oct. 10 at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The Severn resident was 86.

No cause of death was available, family members said.

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Born in Easton, he was the son of Alverta Polly Banks Tilghman, a teacher and Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Co. worker, and Walter Tilghman. He was a 1952 graduate of Robert Russa Moton School in Easton, where he played on its basketball team. He was known as Billy or “Mole” Tilghman.

He earned a degree at what was then the Maryland State College in Princess Anne and worked summers in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After graduation, he joined the Army and was stationed in Germany as a medic. He returned to Easton after being discharged from the military and took additional classes at Lebanon College, Pennsylvania State College, Towson University and the University of Maryland.

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As a child he became a member of Asbury United Methodist Church and grew up in a neighborhood called The Hill.

“The Hill was a vibrant African American community and Alvin proudly recollected that his family was the first African American family to purchase a home on Dover Road in Easton,” said his daughter, Lavertta Harden of Gambrills. “He always spoke fondly of immediate and extended family, the Banks, Chases and Poneys, and his neighbors, including the Dobsons, Gardeners, Goldsboroughs and Pritchetts.”

Mr. Tilghman met his future wife, Sylvia Pinkett, at a dance at the Elks Home in Cambridge.

“At the end of the evening, he walked Sylvia home, leaving his wallet with her, and telling her he would be back for it. He came back two months later, and the rest is history,” his daughter said. “They were married on November 28, 1963, at the home of Sylvia’s sister Mary. They honeymooned in Niagara Falls.”

His daughter described her father as a people person and who shared his wisdom and helped others establish and flourish in their careers.

He was a printer at Whitman Publishing in Cambridge, which printed children’s books and numismatic supplies.

“He was offered the opportunity to be a salesperson, their first Black salesperson, and traveled to Wisconsin for training,” said his wife. “He was later transferred to the San Francisco Bay Area and also worked in Sacramento.”

Mr. Tilghman was transferred to the publisher’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, sales district and later changed careers and began working as a personnel administrator for a state hospital, also in Harrisburg. He then was a personnel administrator for the Honeywell Corp. in Annapolis, and went on to be a personnel director for what is now Towson University and Bowie State University.

Mr. Tilghman retired in 2002 from the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, where he worked as a personnel administrator and special assistant to John Jeffries, a state official.

He was an active Mason and belonged to the Easton Star Lodge, now Prospect Lodge, where he was past Worshipful Master. He also held the posts of Past Commander-in-Chief and Illustrious Potentate. At his death he was Illustrious Secretary and Keeper of the Seals and Archives.

Mr. Tilghman was a past member of the Anne Arundel County delegation of the Democratic Central Committee and was its treasurer, and he was a charter and former board member of the West County Democratic Club.

He also served on the Severn Small Area Planning Committee. He was a member and past president of a Ravens Roost and was the treasurer of the Cedar Meadows Rod and Gun Club.

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He was a member of St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Hanover and served on its ushers' board.

Mr. Tilghman enjoyed travel, fishing and watching sports and Western films. He liked to talk politics and danced at social gatherings.

“He was known for his jokes and hearty laugh, and he adored his family and friends. They loved socializing with him,” his daughter said.

He hosted a Labor Day cookout and attended clam bakes in Philadelphia, cabarets, family reunions and a Palm Sunday bull roast at Martin’s West. He also tailgated at Historically Black College and University football games and at Ravens Stadium, where he was a season-ticket holder.

In addition to his daughter and his wife of 56 years, a retired educator at the MacArthur Middle School in Fort Meade, survivors include a son, Dujuan Tilghman of Glen Burnie; a niece raised as a daughter, Vonnita Pinkett-Reap of Baltimore; a cousin who was raised as his sister, Betty Emory of Easton; and five grandchildren.

Services were held Oct. 24 at the Howell Funeral Home.

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