Thomas Lee Tillman II, known by all as Tucker, was a great friend and athlete. His living personality, sportsmanship, and team spirit resonated at Marquette High School. Tucker was tragically killed July 9, 1973 in an auto accident. He was loved by family and friends. This fund was created to honor that memory and to serve as a reminder that we must work together even when times are tough.

The recipient of the Tucker Tillman Award at Marquette Academy in Ottawa will receive a financial award along with the recognition for the first time in 2017. A generous gift to establish the award fund has been made by family members of Tucker. You can help to increase the amount of the award by making your own contribution to the Fund.


2018 Award Winner Michael Killelea, is centered between Mariam Stokes, sister of Tucker Tillman, and Shalanda Rabadan, Tucker’s niece, and founder of the Tucker Tillman Scholarship Fund. Michael will attend the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, and will play football for the University. Congratulations, Michael!


The Starved Rock Country Community Foundation is honored to announce that, for the first-time, the recipient of the Tom Tillman Award presented by Marquette Academy, has been accompanied by a cash scholarship. Through the generosity of Shalanda Rabadan, the niece of “Tucker” Tillman, the Thomas “Tucker” Tillman Scholarship Fund was created through the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation. Tom Tillman, an outstanding athlete and charismatic leader at Marquette High School, was tragically killed in an auto accident in 1973.

Shalanda and her husband, Marcos Rabadan, presented the first Tillman Scholarships to Sam Hettel and Cate Thompson, 2017 graduates of Marquette Academy. This is the first time in the 44-year history of the award that their peers selected two winners, and the first time financial scholarships accompanied the award. Shalanda’s mother, Mariam Tillman, who is Tucker’s sister, and Shalanda’s brother, Thomas James (T.J.) Stokes, himself a 1998 recipient of the Thomas Tillman Award, also attended the emotionally charged award presentation.

The highly coveted Thomas Tillman Award was presented to Sam and Cate, who were nominated by their peers for demonstrating outstanding athletic performance, school spirit, fair play and strong leadership. The Tillman family and others who choose to contribute to the Tillman Scholarship Fund will ensure that the award forever includes a financial component.

“It has been an honor to work with Shalanda over the past year to establish this new scholarship through the SRCCF”, said Pamela Beckett, President of the Foundation. “Shalanda feels she has finally put into action what has been in her heart for many years. We extend our sincere congratulations to Sam and Cate as the first recipients of the Thomas “Tucker” Tillman Scholarship, and to the family of Tucker for keeping his legacy alive in perpetuity.”

Your unrestricted donation to the Leadership Fund for Now is just that, a gift for NOW. It enables us to operate, provides funds for immediate distribution to area agencies and charitable initiatives and helps us build the core administrative fund. The Leadership Fund for Now is made up of unrestricted donations, earnings on investments, and administrative fees. This is where we need your donation the most.
Pamela Beckett
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