Charles “Chips” Tilgner

Charles “Chips” Tilgner

December 16, 1959 – August 23, 2021

Charles “Chips” Tilgner, age 61, of Omaha, passed away on Monday, August 23, 2021, following a courageous eight-year journey with Alzheimer’s Disease. Born in Patchogue, New York, Chips was the son of Charles Tilgner III and the late Linda (Altman) Tilgner. On September 21, 1996, Chips married Dina (Book) in Omaha.  Together they have two amazing sons, Drew (20) and Matthew (18).

Chips grew up in Bennington, Vermont, and attended the Pine Cobble School in Williamstown, Massachusetts, graduating in 1977 as valedictorian from Mount Anthony Union High School. He was a member of the National Honor Society, played soccer and tennis, and starred as Peter Pan in the school play. Chips was accepted into Princeton University during his junior year of high school but decided to defer and finish out his senior year at Mount Anthony.  At Princeton he met the qualifications to earn degrees in both economics and engineering.  Chips graduated cum laude in 1981 from the School of Engineering with a BSE in civil engineering.

Chips had an accomplished 32-year career at Union Pacific Railroad in the Finance department where he retired as the General Director of Capital Planning and Financing in 2013.  He really enjoyed his work and especially the friendships he formed with so many people.

Chips loved spending time with his family and friends. As he was growing up, he and his family would spend time together skiing, waterskiing, hiking, and bicycling.  As an adult, Chips enjoyed a variety of activities including skiing, tennis, soccer, golf, volleyball, and working on projects around the house. Chips especially enjoyed going to his kids’ activities–he loved supporting Drew playing baseball and Matthew playing soccer and basketball.  Fantastic memories were made on their many “Tilgner Treks” with his family. Chips also enjoyed annual golf trips with his friends, Cliff and Jeff, and his brother, David.  During the December 1993 golf trip, Chips made a hole-in-one on hole 7 at the Ravines Club in Florida.

Chips was truly one of a kind.  He was genuinely kind-hearted and made friends with everyone.  He was extremely intelligent, clever, and thoughtful.  He handled his journey with Alzheimer’s with such grace and was an inspiration for those of us who were alongside the journey with him.  He had a great support team consisting of his caregivers and long-time friend and physician, Becky Reilly.

Chips is survived by his wife, Dina Tilgner, of Omaha; their children, Drew C. Tilgner and Matthew D. Tilgner, both in Omaha; his father, Charles Tilgner III and his wife, Elisabeth, of Exeter, New Hampshire; sister-in-law, Lori Tilgner, of Stowe, VT, his in-laws, as well as aunts, nieces, nephews and extended family. Chips’ mother, Linda Tilgner, passed away on May 18, 1989.  Chips’ brother, David, passed away on August 6, 2017.

The family will receive friends on Friday, September 3rd at Heafey, Hoffman, Dworak & Cutler West Center Chapel from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.  A service celebrating the life of Chips Tilgner will be held at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral on Saturday, September 4, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.  A reception will follow.   Memorial gifts can be made in Chips memory to the Alzheimer’s Association of Nebraska online at or by mail to Alzheimer’s Association – Omaha, 11711 Arbor St #110, Omaha, NE 68144. 




  • steve barkley Posted August 28, 2021 8:28 pm

    Dina – I am so saddened to read of Chips passing. A great man and friend — I always enjoyed seeing, speaking with, and working on so many things with Chips during our careers at UP. We are praying for you and your family asking for peace and comfort. My sincerest condolences, Steve Barkley

  • Mike, Ethan, Lizzy Spires Posted August 29, 2021 11:16 pm

    Dina, Drew, Matthew. Your tribute for Chips spoke so well of his accomplishments and character. Such an amazing person. Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey and helping us through ours. Dina, your dignity, grace, and loyalty to Chips has been such an inspiration and form of guidance for us over the last six years. We will forever be grateful to you. God bless Chips and Jane. Mike, Ethan, and Lizzy Spires.

  • Mark Flaxbeard Posted August 30, 2021 6:31 am

    Tilgner Family,
    Sorry to hear about your loss. Chips was such a wonderful person and his never ending smile always touched my heart. God Bless Chips and his family.

  • Matt Modica Posted September 2, 2021 12:51 pm

    Dina, Drew and Matthew – I am so sorry to hear of Chips passing. Chips was a great boss and an even better friend. I enjoyed the many years we worked together. I learned a lot from him and we did some good work. Equally important, we had fun doing it (at least as much fun as you can have doing capital budgeting!). Unfortunately I will not be able to make it to the Visitation or Funeral as I will be out of town, but please know you are very much in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Amy Vester Posted September 3, 2021 9:25 am

    Dina, Drew, and Matthew,
    We are so sorry for your loss. We will continue praying for you and your family during this difficult time. Sincerely,
    The Vester Family

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