Weatherford Democrat

Local News

September 28, 2012

Veteran comes full circle with newspaper

PARKER COUNTY — More than 50 years ago, Sam Tillery found himself on the cover of the Weatherford Democrat.

Now the Weatherford resident has come full circle, once again gracing the pages of the Democrat.

After his father got sick, Tillery, who grew up in the area, spent his teenage years going back and forth between Weatherford and Big Springs.

In August of 1958, after deciding that school just wasn’t for him, Tillery joined the Navy at the age of 18.

“I didn’t want to stay here and go to school, and the Navy recruiter was the first guy that I met,” he said.

Home in Weatherford on leave, Tillery, who was a drummer in his school’s band, drove up to Weatherford High School to check out the day’s events.

“I saw that the band was practicing, and I went up there to investigate,” he said.

The result was a photo of Tillery, in Navy uniform, posed with Weatherford band members.

Three days later, he was shipped to Okinawa, Japan, where he served in the aviation ordinance for four years before his discharge.

Tillery’s application experience didn’t quite go as planned, as he and a friend signed up to serve together.

“When I went to go to basic training in San Diego, I asked where my friend was,” he said. “The officer told me [the friend] hadn’t passed his physical and that I better get my butt on that train.”

Tillery came home to Weatherford in 1969, and has lived here ever since.

“I almost went back in, but my girlfriend at the time told me it was her or the Navy,” he said. “Such tough decisions.”

Tillery’s first job out of the Navy was pumping gas for Nadeen and Kenneth Murphree.

“I’m proud to be a veteran, and I’d do it all over again,” he said of his experience.

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