Mass of Christian Burial for Joe Tiller 74 year old beloved family man, friend and football coach who was called home to be with the Lord September 30th, will be celebrated on Wednesday, October 11th at 11:00 at the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Buffalo, Wyoming with Father Pete Johnson as celebrant. A vigil service will be held and the Rosary recited at the church on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Visitation will be held from the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church on Tuesday from 1:00 until 7:00. Interment will be in the Willow Grove Cemetery with graveside services immediately following the Mass. Donations in Joe’s memory may be made to the Cowboy Carousel or The Fabry Support & Information Group (to help Fabry patients with the cost of treatments).in care of the Harness Funeral Home at 351 N. Adams in Buffalo, Wyoming. 82834. Online condolences may be made at www.harnessfuneralhome.com
Joseph Henry Tiller was born December 7, 1942, in Toledo, Ohio, the son of Josephine and Francis Tiller. Joe attended Rogers High School and then Montana State University, earning his bachelor’s degree in secondary education and playing for the football team. He was drafted by the Boston Patriots of the American Football League and played for the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League during the 1964 season. In 1965, Joe embarked on a 44-year career as a football coach and administrator. He was an assistant at Montana State (1965-70), Washington State University (1971-73 and 1989-90), Purdue University (1983-86) and the University of Wyoming (1987-88). From 1974 to 1982, Joe worked as an assistant coach, interim head coach, assistant general manager, and director of administration and player personnel with Calgary in the CFL.
Joe was the head coach at Wyoming from 1991 to 1996 and at Purdue from 1997 to 2008. His six-year record at Wyoming was 39-30-1, and he led the Cowboys to the 1993 Copper Bowl. In 12 seasons at Purdue, he became the winningest coach in school history with an 87-62 record and took the Boilermakers to 10 bowl games, including the 2001 Rose Bowl. Purdue won the 2000 Big Ten Conference championship. Joe was the 1997 Big Ten and national Coach of the Year. His spread offense changed the way the game is played in the Big Ten. His overall 18-year head coaching record was 126-92-1, a .578 winning percentage.
In 2008, Tiller was awarded the Order of the Griffin, one of Purdue’s highest honors, given to individuals whose commitment to the university goes well beyond the call of duty, and whose strength and vision have greatly benefited the institution. He was inducted into the Montana State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998, Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 2012 and Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
On July 1, 1967, Joe married his dearly loved Arnette, and she survives, along with their three children – Julie, Renee and Mike (wife Hilda) – and four grandchildren: Paulina, Lily, Gus and Tori. Joe also is survived by brothers Charles Tiller of Manning, South Carolina, and Marvin Tiller of Toledo. Joe was kind-hearted and cherished the student-athletes he coached and his terrifically loyal assistant coaches and support staff. He will be deeply missed by all those who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Self-described as “a good guy who could also coach football,” Joe endeared himself to football fans everywhere with his personality and humility. There was much more to Joe than football. He was devoted to God and the United States of America. His interests included antiques, art, cribbage, history, wildlife and good food. He was a member of the Model A and Pioneer Car Club in Buffalo, driving his 1929 Ford Model A in parades.
A viewing will take place at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Buffalo on October 10 from 1 to 7 p.m., followed by a rosary and time for guests to share memories and tell stories. A funeral mass will be conducted at St. John the following day at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Joe’s name to the Cowboy Carousel Center (a Buffalo project Joe and Arnette have been involved with for several years) and the Fabry Support & Information Group (to help Fabry patients with the cost of treatments). Tax-deductible donations may be made online at cowboycarouselcenter.com and Fabry.org or through Harness Funeral Home in Buffalo.