Bob Tilton, a lifelong resident of Vineyard Haven, died peacefully at his home on Main street on July 23 at the age of 84.

To his family and friends, Bob was very thoughtful and the consummate gentleman and patriot. He was well-known on the Island and knew everyone on a first name basis. When you met Bob, you were greeted with a firm handshake and a twinkle in his eyes. He was proud of his Island heritage and his service to Tisbury as a volunteer fireman, serving as assistant chief and retiring after 40 years. He treated everyone with respect and was honored and respected by those who knew him. His knowledge of the history of the Vineyard was unparalleled and well documented with extensive memorabilia, which he was excited to share with his friends. His gentle manners and respectful style allowed many people into his special life, one that centered on Tisbury and Vineyard Haven Harbor. He demonstrated the value of small town life. He was simply defined by the place he loved, those he cared for and his dedication to family and friends. Bob will be missed by many.

Bob was born to Donald and Alice Tilton at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital on May 17, 1931 and lived his entire life on Main street, as did three generations before him. He was predeceased by his parents and sisters Barbara Tarleton and Lorna Flanders. In his youth, he attended the Tisbury schools, the Tilton Prep School in Tilton, N.H. and later the University of New Hampshire. He was married to Shirley, who predeceased him in 2013.

Bob was a member of the Methodist Church. He enjoyed gardening and working with his hands, building boats and ship models, carving decoys and birds, carpentry and construction, and for the past several years he enjoyed the company of a coffee group that met daily at 7 a.m.

Bob and Shirley had six children and 13 grandchildren. The surviving children are Wayne Iacono, Wendy Marzbanian, Kathleen Clancy and her husband Lawrence, Tania Tilton, Stephanie Rossi and her husband William, and James Tilton and his wife Heather. Grandchildren include Vinny Iacono, Kirstin and Trevor Marzbanian, Ainsley and Susannah Clancy, Jared and Abby Stobie, Daron, Noah and Kyle Stobie, Haley and Joseph Rossi, and Astrid and Lily Tilton. He is also survived by niece Martha Flanders and nephews Steve Flanders and Don and Bob Tarleton.

A graveside service will be held on August 1 at 10:30 a.m. at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven with a coffee reception following at the Tisbury fire station.

Donations may be made in Bob’s name to the Tisbury Firefighters Association, P.O. Box 1313, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, Bob Tilton Fund, P.O. Box 1310, Edgartown, MA 02539.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. Visit for online guest book and information.