Posted by IndigoBlue on January 27, 2004 at 17:29:13:
TAMPA, Florida (22 January 2004) - The National Association of Underwater
Instructors (NAUI Worldwide) is saddened to announced that co-founder and
NAUI Instructor #1, Albert Alvin "Al" Tillman, died on 16 January in
Seattle, Washington of a cerebral hemorrhage. Tillman is survived by his
wife, Patricia, his children, Thomas and Laura, and four grandchildren.
A native of Los Angeles, Tillman began free diving at the age of 10 and was
actively involved in free diving, scuba diving and dive education until his
death. Tillman and fellow diver, Hans Hass, formed NAUI Worldwide in 1959
as the first international scuba diving certification and training agency;
Tillman continued to run the agency part-time until 1969.
"Al will be greatly missed," said Mark Flahan, Chairman, NAUI Worldwide
Board of Directors. "Al was a pioneer in our industry and a special friend
to NAUI. His intrepid spirit and dedication to our Association typified the
strong bond still shared among our members. Al was an inspiration to divers
for decades and I was honored to have had him as a friend." In addition to
receiving numerous awards and recognition throughout his career, Tillman
received the NAUI Lifetime Achievement Award at the NAUI 40th Anniversary
"Al Tillman played a vital role in NAUI's early successes," said Jim Bram,
President, NAUI Worldwide. "Al made enormous contributions to both the
sport and science of scuba diving. His dedication to the organization and
lifelong search for knowledge helped position NAUI as an industry leader.
His passing is a huge loss to the entire dive community."
Tillman attended the University of Southern California where he earned his
undergraduate degree in Public Administration, served in World War II in
the Pacific Theater, and subsequently attended graduate school at both USC
and Loyola University. In 1953, Tillman and Los Angeles County Lifeguard,
Bev Morgan, designed the first organized public classes in skin and scuba
diving, and implemented the first ever instructor certification courses the
following year. The Los Angeles County program continues as one of the most
rigorous instructor programs in the world.
In 1955, Tillman became a Professor at California State University in Los
Angeles, where he founded the first college scuba diving club in the United
States. In 1957, Tillman, with fellow future NAUI member and diver, Zale
Parry, produced and directed the International Underwater Film Festivals
that honors outstanding underwater photographers and their underwater
films. In 1966, Tillman moved to Freeport, Bahamas, where he established
UNEXSO, the world's first dedicated diving resort.
Tillman was recognized for his achievements in the fields of diving and
recreation many times. In 2001, Tillman was one of the inaugural inductees
into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame along with other pioneer
divers such as Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Hans Hass, Sylvia Earle and Canadian
Underwater Photographer, Jack McKinney.
Over the course of his lifetime, Tillman wrote several books on diverse
topics such as art, book collecting, recreation and diving. Tillman was
also technical advisor for television and film stories that related to
diving and wrote several scripts for television shows such as "Sea Hunt".
Tillman was an award-winning underwater photographer and filmmaker with
numerous magazine covers and international awards.
A private family service took place and the family requested that no cards
or flowers be sent.
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