Feder: Pioneering aviator, trailblazing Chicago television host Jim Tilmon dies
It's a sign of how much Chicago loved Jim Tilmon that when he retired in 1994, Mayor Richard M. Daley proclaimed it "Jim Tilmon Day in Chicago," the Federal Aviation Administration named an airway navigation point after him, and United Airlines awarded him the title of "honorary United Airlines captain."
As one of the nation's first Black commercial airline pilots, Tilmon spent his entire 29-year flying career with American Airlines. But such was the respect he earned that it even extended to rival airlines.
The pioneering aviator, who also was a trailblazing Chicago television host, weather forecaster, and science and aviation reporter, died Saturday in Scottsdale, Arizona. Tilmon was 86.
"Jim was an accomplished pilot, broadcaster and, more importantly, an old school gentleman who was a pleasure to be around," recalled retired news anchor Ron Magers, who worked with Tilmon at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 -- one of four local stations that employed Tilmon over a distinguished 37-year broadcasting career.