John L. Tillstrom Obituary

John L. Tillstrom, 72, of Holt, Michigan (formerly of Schaumburg, Illinois), passed away Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held 1:00 P.M. Tuesday, February 23, 2021 at Starks & Menchinger Chapel, 2650 Niles Rd., St. Joseph, with Rev. Tom Bird officiating. Friends may visit with the family from Noon until 1:00 P.M. Tuesday at the funeral home. Memorial donations in John’s name may be made to the Michigan State University College of Agriculture & Natural Resources Alumni Association Endowed Scholarship Fund. Those wishing to sign John’s Memory Book online may do so at

John was born December 25, 1948 in Benton Harbor to Robert & Gertrude (Schmul) Tillstrom. He grew up on the family farm in Sodus, MI, and graduated from Benton Harbor High School, Class of 1967. John was a proud graduate of Michigan State University (Class of 1972), where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business. After college, John honorably served his country as a member of the United States Army. He had a remarkable career in sales, spending many years with Echo Incorporated. After his time with Echo, John honed his craft as a salesman extraordinaire in a variety of industries, ultimately retiring in 2010. In his free time, John enjoyed reading a good book, smoking a fine cigar, and spending time with friends & family. He was an avid sports fan, and especially loved his MSU Spartans, along with all the Detroit pro teams. Rarely seen without a smile on his face, John had an infectious laugh that would instantly lift your spirits, and he had a seemingly endless repertoire of bad jokes. John was many things to many people; a loving father, a loyal son & brother, and a dependable friend, to name a few. His presence in so many lives will be missed, but never forgotten.

John is survived by his daughter Briana Tillstrom of Navarro, CA; his son Preston (Megan) Tillstrom of Chicago, IL; his brother Thomas (Cheryl) Tillstrom of St. Joseph, MI; two sisters-Valerie (Lee) Tillstrom-Albright of Brighton, MI & Linda Kurzynski of Stevensville, MI; the mother of his children Donna (Hornby) Tillstrom of Boynton Beach, FL; and several nieces & nephews. He was preceded in death by his father Robert on July 2, 1991, and his mother Gertrude on October 23, 2020. 

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