TILTON — Village leaders are remembering a village board trustee who died unexpectedly on Wednesday as a man who was dedicated to his community.
"He was proud to be Tilton born and Tilton raised, and he did whatever he could to help the community," Mayor David Phillips said of Timothy Pichon.
"He was just a good-hearted person," Treasurer Tiffany Jones added. "He always wanted to know what was going on and was always willing to help out."
Mr. Pichon died at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana. He was 46.
Flags in the village are being flown at half-staff in memory of Mr. Pichon, whose service to the village began at a young age. He was in high school when he joined the Tilton Fire Department and began working in the summer for Phillips, then the director of the Tilton Public Works Department.
Later, Mr. Pichon worked for the Danville Township Highway Department for his father, the late Gene Pichon, the highway commissioner. The younger Pichon worked for the township for 20 years and as a part-time Tilton police officer for about 10 years.
He served on the fire department for 30 years, first as a firefighter, earning the rank of assistant chief, and later as a trustee.
Mr. Pichon was elected to an unexpired two-year term on the village board in 2005. He was elected to a four-year term in 2007 and re-elected in 2011. During that time, he served on the finance committee and chaired the committee overseeing the fire and ambulance services.
"He never missed a meeting unless he was sick," Phillips said. He added Mr. Pichon helped draft an ordinance that would allow the village to recover expenses for hazardous materials spills from haulers and wrote several grants including one for $24,000 that enabled the department to replace worn-out bunker gear and other safety equipment.
Mr. Pichon's term expires in April 2015. Phillips will declare the seat vacant at the Sept. 19 village board meeting to be held at Thomas Park. Then he will accept applications for the position and recommend a successor within 60 days. The board must approve the appointee.
Mr. Pichon had diabetes and lost a leg to the disease a couple of years ago, friends and relatives said. But he remained involved.
"When we got a call, he'd come up to the station and run radios and make sure we had everything we needed," said Richard Austin, Tilton's fire chief and Mr. Pichon's cousin. "He would help out with the Tilton Fun Days. He helped us start our Safety First program where we do home safety checks for seniors. He was just all about Tilton. We lost a friend and a great asset to our community."