Former North Carolina Sen. and Elon College alumnus Jerry Tillman died Feb. 4 at age 82. The longtime senator died in Greensboro from natural causes, according to the Associated Press. Tillman played baseball for what is now Elon University, earning the title of honorable-mention All-American while playing for the Fighting Christians. 

Tillman served in the North Carolina State Senate from 2002 until June of 2020, representing Randolph and Guilford counties. He served as chair of the Senate Finance Committee, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Education and Majority Whip. He was also the precinct chairman for the Randolph County Republican party for 23 years.

Prior to his career in politics, Tillman was an educator, spending 35 years in roles ranging from assistant superintendent to coaching. He was a native of Siler City, North Carolina, and received his bachelor’s degree from then Elon College and a Masters in School Administration from University of North Carolina-Greensboro.

Tillman was preceded in death by his wife, Marian, and is survived by three children and several grandchildren. His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 25 at the Archdale Friends Meeting.