Center for Study of Public Choice

 Betty Tillman

March 19, 1927 - October 2, 2013


It is our sad duty to report that Betty Tillman has passed. For more than four decades, Betty was the heart of the Center family. Indeed, more than anyone else it was Betty with her warmth and grace that made Center faculty, visitors, and students feel like they were part of a family. I know that she will always be remembered and appreciated.

--Alex Tabarrok, Center Director

Betty Hall Tillman worked for economist James Buchanan for 46 years. He hired her in July 1961 to work at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Political Economy at the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, VA. They later moved the Center to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. In 1983, they then moved the Center to GMU. Betty did not retire until 2007 at the age of 80.


She loved the people she had met from all over the world during the years she was here - the Center never felt like a job to her.

Known as the "First Lady of Public Choice," or "Momma Betty," she enjoyed making the Center a family atmosphere and was an inspiration to everyone who met her. She will be greatly missed.  

Betty is survived by her children Angela Tillman, Gary Tillman and George Tillman and also one who she loved as a son, Lloyd Bryant; her grand-children, Brent Tillman, Deni Sheppard Smith, Dara Lashley, Jeri Tillman, Nickolia and Luca Tillman;  and her great-grandchildren, Landon and Matthew Sheppard, Devyn Lashley.


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