Tisdale remembered as a patriot and gentleman

Published 4:56 pm Friday, June 10, 2011

Colonel Tyron Earl Tisdale (U.S. Army, ret.), a man described by those who knew him as a proud American and great gentleman, passed away early Thursday morning at his home in Greenville. He was 90.

Tisdale, a long-time Greenville Rotarian, remained active up until his last days. A self-confessed staunch patriot, he participated in the Lions Memorial Day Celebration at Confederate Park May 30 as he took the Walk of Honor as a veteran of WW II.

Reflecting on Tisdale’s passion for protocol and his courteous nature, Rotary president William Johnson recalled the colonel as someone who always kept the organization’s members “in line.”

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“But the thing about it is, he was always so nice in the way he did it,” Johnson added.

“What a gentleman. That’s the word I think of when I think of Colonel Tisdale,” said Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon, who worked with Tisdale’s widow, Linda, during her tenure as city clerk.

“It was always a pleasure to spend time around the colonel.”

A native of McDavid, Fla., the colonel recalled his early Butler County connections in a 2010 interview with the Greenville Advocate.

“My father was born in the Garland Community in 1895. I’ve got a Greenville Advocate newspaper cutting of the ad for my grandfather’s farm being for sale . . . when I moved here, in a way I already felt at home.”

Tisdale said he first put on a military uniform as an ROTC cadet at Georgia Tech in 1938, later joining the 30th Infantry of the National Guard.

Commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1942, he served in the Army through WW II, the Korean Conflict and three tours of Vietnam, retiring in 1970. Tisdale professed he still missed serving in the military, a career which had taken him to all 50 states and between 20 and 30 foreign countries.

After his retirement, he undertook a second career as a manager for the City of Auburn, where he said management skills learned in the military were put to good use.

“I served in several capacities as manager, including as police chief for six months. I still have the certificate qualifying me to serve as a peace officer, but thank goodness, I haven’t been called upon to do it,” Tisdale said with a smile.

After his second retirement, he moved to Greenville. His commitment to his new home earned him the Paul Harris Fellowship Award, the highest honor given by Rotary International.

He said he tried to live by the best advice he had ever been given: “Always tell the truth, keep your word and do a good job. And always try to find some humor in life, no matter what.”

Johnson remembers Tisdale as a very special man who meant a great deal to his club and his community.

“Our hearts go out to his wife Linda and his family. We are all going to miss him,” Johnson said.

The family will receive friends on Saturday, June 11 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Dunklin-Daniels Funeral Home in Greenville. Graveside services with full military honors will be held at Memorial Park Cemetery in Auburn at 2 p.m. Sunday, June 12.