Mr. Speaker, it is with great pride that I rise today to honor a respected jurist, a dedicated public servant, a valued mentor and a trusted friend upon the occasion of his retirement from the New York State Court of Claims.
A native of Hamburg, New York, and a veteran of the United States Army Reserves, Judge Ronald H. Tills began a career in public service that spanned five decades when he joined the Zoning Board of Appeals in 1960. An Assistant Town Attorney and Town Justice, Ron Tills was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1968, where he served his community and his State with distinction, becoming Chairman of the Assembly's Select Committee for Revision of Corporation Law.
It was in his capacity as Member of the State Assembly that Judge Ron Tills took a chance on a young college student with little political experience to help run his re-election campaign in 1972. Joining his Assembly staff following that election, my own career in government and public service was launched, and I will be forever grateful for Ron's guidance, counsel and friendship.
Judge Tills' service to his community culminated when he was nominated by Governor George E. Pataki, and confirmed by the New York State Senate, to the New York State Court of Claims in July of 1995, where he has served as a Court of Claim Judge and Acting Supreme Court Justice for the past decade.
Mr. Speaker, Ron Tills involvement in a variety of civic and community organizations, and the awards and recognitions he has received over the years are too numerous to list. Whether it was the Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce, Hamburg Volunteer Fire Company, or so many others, Ron Tills involved himself as he did in each endeavor throughout his life and career, with passion, leadership, and commitment.
One of his great loves is the largest and oldest fraternal organization in the world. As a Mason, Ron Tills has held numerous responsibilities within the Masons and the organizations within it, including Proctor of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, Potentate of the Ismalia Shrine Temple, Director and President of the Shrine Oasis and Director of the Buffalo Court 22 of Jesters.
In addition to the Masons, gardening and travel, Ron Tills' greatest love of all is the former Elizabeth Clarkson. Ron and Betty were married on May 6, 1960, and are parents of Thomas and Suzanne and grandparents of Dale Jr. and Diane Goodridge, and Timothy and Abigail Tills.
Mr. Speaker, in recognition of and in gratitude for his service, leadership and patriotism, I ask that this Honorable Body join me in honoring Judge Ronald H. Tills upon the occasion of his retirement, and wish him great health and happiness in the days and years ahead.
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