Hello everyone. Today I will be writing about Jim Tilmon. He was one of the most memorable meteorologists in Chicago. I have written stories about other weather forecasters like Harry Volkman and Jerry Taft. Now, this is my third one. I have watched Jim Tilmon on television during the 1970s and 1980s while growing in Chicago. His mannerisms, voice, and vast knowledge about weather, made watching the news very entertaining.
He was a commercial pilot for many years and, I would love to hear his voice if I was on an airplane with him. He started his television career in 1968 when he hosted a show on WTTW-TV Channel 11 called “Our People.” I don’t remember the show at all. The other show that I remember was called “Tilmon Tempo.” which aired on WMAQ-TV Channel 5. That show ran for three years and, it aired over the weekends. I watched a couple of episodes and, he was an excellent interviewer.
In January 1975, he started working at WMAQ-TV Channel 5 as a meteorologist. He was still working as an airline pilot and did that for almost thirty years. He was well-liked by the public, on-screen and off. His colleagues at the TV station respected him and praised his work. I loved his explanations about all types of weather, especially tornados.
When American Airlines Flight 191 crashed at O’Hare Airport in Chicago on May 25, 1979, it was a horrible tragedy. I remembered watching it on television as the news of the crash was investigated by the proper authorities. Jim Tilmon, who worked at the airlines, was on TV, holding a model airplane, and explaining why the plane crashed. It was fascinating to watch. In the same month, my family and I were planning to go to Greece for our summer vacation for two months. My mother was worried at first, but she decided we should go anyway. I wasn’t thrilled to go there at first, but I reluctantly went. Now when I look back, I’m glad I went. The only thing we missed during the summer was Disco Demolition Night on July 12, 1979, at Comiskey Park. I had no idea about it until we returned to Chicago in late August. I wrote a story about it, and it was published here on my blog.
Jim Tilmon retired in 1994 from Channel 5 and American Airlines and moved to Scottsdale, Arizona. He still visited Chicago from time to time and was greeted by people with enthusiasm and kindness. I read an article in a newspaper when he lived in Arizona; he appeared on television at times. People who lived in Chicago and moved to Phoenix were pleased to see him on the screen. He still talked about the weather and the airline industry.
We will never forget Jim Tilmon for his television appearances over the years. He was a true gentleman, and we will miss him. Thank you. Pete Kastanes. Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.