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Jim Tilmon: Our Client, Our Hero

01.19.2021

Most people knew Jim Tilmon as a Chicago weatherman who became a household name in the 1970s. Jim was also a professional pilot who became an aviation expert during his television news career.

What most did not know was that we at Corboy & Demetrio were fortunate to call Jim Tilmon our friend.  It was not unusual for Jim to stop in the office to say hello.  He was a staple at all of our holiday parties. He was just the kind of guy you wanted to hang out with – he was a great storyteller.   We were even honored to represent him in a personal injury action.

During his career, Jim broke racial barriers. Born in 1934, he loved aviation as a child, and as an adult, after serving in the Army Corps of Engineers as a pilot, he became a commercial pilot.  In the 1960s, he became the third African American pilot for American Airlines, and only the fifth in the nation.

While Jim was still flying, he started a second career in television, initially hosting a talk show and later becoming a meteorologist.  He worked at CBS2, NBC5 and WTTW, rising to local fame. In addition, Jim served as the stations’ aviation expert during air disasters.

Another of Jim’s legacies:  he was one of the founders of the National Association of Black Journalists. and he inspired generations of Black journalists during his decades in the profession.

“While we first got to know Jim as a client, we remained close until his death.  He was simply a tremendous person, and the affable weatherman Chicagoans let into their living rooms each night was really who he was off camera.  In addition to a talented journalist, skilled pilot and pioneer, he was this gentle soul who cared deeply about not just his family but about humanity,” said Thomas A. Demetrio, Co-founder of Corboy & Demetrio.

Our deepest sympathies to the entire Tilmon family.  Jim will be dearly missed by his friends at C&D.

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