Tilford Gene Horelica passed away Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 in Katy at the age of 82. He was born in Wharton to Alfred and Lillie Kramr Horelica on March 13, 1938.

He graduated from Wharton High School and later joined the U.S. Navy and served our country honorably four years. After returning home he worked for the Wharton Police Department. He then move to Houston where he worked for TRW Mission and Drill Quip International until his retirement. Both jobs sent him to five continents where he made many friends. He always came home with interesting stories that he loved sharing with family on holidays. Everyone loved listening to them, and they will continue to be told by family members for many years.

After his wife’s death, he moved to his home in Matagorda, that he and Autrey built together. Tilford was a man of many talents. He love the outdoors, going fishing, hunting and was also an excellent cook.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife Autrey Jean Bridges Horelica.

His is survived by his sons: Ronald Bridges of Houston and Glenn Bridges and wife Angel of Katy; three grandsons: Blake, Morgan and Taylor; two granddaughters: Nicole and Lexie; three sisters: Doris Brown and husband Ed of Converse, Betty Petersen and husband Don of Lake Jackson, and Willie Mae Pinchback and husband Tony of El Campo.

Tilford will be missed by family and friends. He was truly and gentle giant with a beautiful soul.

A private family graveside will be held on Saturday, Feb. 27.

In lieu of flowers, family request contributions be made to American Diabetes Association. www.diabetes.org

Funeral services are under the direction of Wharton Funeral Home. Condolences may be left at whartonfuneralhome.com.