Provided by Texas Tech University
Jan Tillery, one of Texas Tech University's most ardent supporters and wife of former Texas Tech President Guy Bailey, passed away Sunday evening at Trinity Hospital in Birmingham, AL., after an extended illness.
"Jan was a truly great lady and a tremendous supporter of Texas Tech," Chancellor Kent Hance said Monday after hearing of the Slaton native's passing. "Despite her illness, she was always upbeat and proud of the accomplishments of Texas Tech and its faculty and students."
Bailey was president of the university from 2008 to 2012.
Tillery moved to Tuscaloosa, Ala., in August 2012 after her husband was named president of the University of Alabama, his alma mater. He stepped down from that position in October 2012 to help take care of her and her medical needs.
Tillery was born in Slaton on July 7, 1950. She graduated from Lubbock Monterey High School in 1968.
She received her Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from Texas Tech in May 1974. She earned a Master's of Arts in English at Texas A&M University in December 1989. In 1992, she was awarded a Ph.D in English linguistics from Oklahoma State University.
Tillery loved young people and devoted her life to teaching. She was an inspirational and beloved teacher whose students took great pride in having her for a mentor.
Her first teaching position was at Vines High School in Plano from 1982 until 1985. She taught at the University of Oklahoma from 1992 until 1993; Christian Brothers University in Memphis from 1993 until 1995; the University of Nevada at Las Vegas from 1995 until 1997; UT-San Antonio from 1997 until 2005; and the University of Missouri at Kansas City from 2005 until 2008.
She retired from teaching in 2008 for health reasons after reaching the rank of full professor.
During her career, Dr. Tillery, whose research in linguistics was featured in The New York Times in November 2003, published or presented research papers on more than 70 occasions. She was widely recognized as one of the leading experts on the linguistics of Texas and the American South.
Services are pending but will be held at the Kent R. Hance Chapel on the campus of Texas Tech University.