Reino Tilus

Obituary of Reino Tilus

August 12, 1920 – September 16, 2017

52 Year Resident of Scotts Valley

Services will be held in Santa Cruz next Monday evening, September 25th, at 6 p.m., for Reverend Reino Tilus who passed away peacefully Saturday at his home with his loving family at his bedside. Born in a Finnish community in Buffalo, South Dakota, to Waino Tilus and Embie Seppala, Ray worked on the family homestead, farming, herding cattle (before the depression) and sheep (after), hunting, and trapping.

In 1946, Reino met and fell in love with the spirited, red-haired evangelist Bonnie Wheaton who came to hold a revival in Buffalo's log cabin church. Four years of courtship by letters followed, during which time Ray, feeling called to ministry, left the farm to attend Central Bible College, MO, from 1947-1950. Consequently, Ray served as an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God for over 60 years.

During his Bible College years, Ray spent one summer working on a New England Fish Co. trap in Alaska, paying for all his travels and the next year's tuition. He then married the love of his life, Bonnie Wheaton, September 12th, 1950. They raised three children: Linda Faye/1951, Michael Ray/1955, and Judith Diane/1956.

Reino earned his B.A. in Art/English at Black Hills State University in 1954, following with his M.A. in Art/Education in Greeley State University in 1958. He was a PhD candidate in English Lit at Stanford University.

Reino pastored a little church in Deadwood, SD, from 1954-1957, during which time he began his career in teaching English or Art at several levels: junior high, high school, and university. He taught in Berthoud, CO, and later in Cody, WY. From Cody, the family commuted weekends to Red Lodge, MT, to pastor a little Finnish/American church.

The family then moved to California in 1965 where Reino taught Art and English at Bethany Bible College, Scotts Valley, as well as adult education classes at Santa Cruz High School.

Ray and Bonnie served faithfully in their local church, Christian Life Center, teaching adults, visiting and planning events. After 62 years of marriage, Bonnie preceded Ray in death in 2012.

Reino is survived by his daughter and son-in law, Linda and David Arzouni of Scotts Valley, his son and daughter-in-law Michael Tilus and Zhaleh Sarabakhsh of Plummer, Idaho, and his daughter Judy Ogden of Portland, Oregon. Ray also leaves his brothers: Carl Tilus, Donald Tilus, David Tilus and Darrell Tilus, and his sisters, Ruth Tilus Worlin, and Rhea Tilus Glasson. He was preceded in death by his sister Edna Tilus Tufte. Ray is survived by 8 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

A funeral ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. on Monday, September 25, at Christian Life Center, 1009 Mission Street, Santa Cruz. Reino Tilus will be laid to rest beside his beloved wife Bonnie, in South Cave Hills Cemetery in Buffalo, South Dakota. Any donations in his memory can be made to the Missions Program of Christian Life Center, Santa Cruz.