She was a ray of sunshine. She brought good cheer to all who knew her, and to Eagle Lake and Colorado County. Kay Allbright Tilton of New Braunfels, Texas passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 19, 2023. Kay lived an extraordinary life filled with family, friends,
travel and laughter. She brightened the lives of all she touched with her with her limitless energy and zest for life. She was always poised for new adventures and experience. She taught in Eagle Lake.
Kay was born in San Marcos, Texas on December 7, 1935 to Bill and Judy Allbright. She was a constant companion to her father, grandfather Will, and her Uncle Tinker roaming the family ranch on horseback, and attending local cattle auctions.
Graduating from San Marcos High School, Kay attended North Texas State University and Southwest Texas State University prior to her illustrious 30+ year teaching career.
In 1957, Kay married William Theodore (Muggins) Tilton. They celebrated 34 years of marriage and two successful sons, Craig and Mike. Kay taught school in New Braunfels, Eagle Lake, Carrizo Springs, Cotulla, San Antonio, and San Marcos. She positively impacted the lives of hundreds of students with whom she was in contact until her final days.
Kay made many lifelong friends through the Tiltons’ teaching and coaching travels. She routinely reunited with those dear friends throughout her life. One of the highlights of the holidays was the gathering of families and former college friends to relive memories and personal stories that expanded and became more humorous each year.
When not cheering in the stands at local athletic events, Kay could be found in or near a rodeo arena keeping times and scores of every cowboy and cowgirl in central Texas. The “Purple Lady” or “Mrs. T” was known by all for her love of life and her hospitality to any and all who routinely stopped by The Rocking T Ranch.
Kay and Ralph (Rusty) Thomas of Eagle Lake were later wed. They enjoyed ranch life, rodeos, community involvement and travel. They loved horses and cattle, and enjoyed their numerous local friends and rodeo alumni. They shared the love of the Texas ranching countryside, driving through the state, and visiting with ranch friends.
As Kay settled into retirement from education, she was an active leader in Miss Rodeo Texas. She was a lifetime Member of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo; a 50year member of Beta Sigma Phi Service Sorority; and was active in multiple volunteer activities in the San Marcos and New Braunfels communities. She was a loyal fan of country music and followed the performers unfailingly.
Kay was a very proud member of “The Allbright Girls,” consisting of her cousins Margie Munson, Martha Sawyars, Jacque Allbright, and Katy Walker. Together they enjoyed traveling, shopping, laughing and organizing family get-togethers.
She adored her granddaughters Rylee and Shelby Tilton. She spent countless hours looking after them, attending activities and bragging about them as long as allowed. Kay loved playing bridge, puzzling, reading, and traveling to all 50 states.
She is preceded in death by her father William Carl Allbright, mother Judy Nelson Allbright, brother William Carl Allbright, Jr., husband William Theodore Tilton, and husband Ralph “Rusty” Thomas.
Kay is survived by sons Craig and Mike Tilton; Daughter-in-law Adriana; grand- daughters Rylee and Shelby Tilton; Brother- in-law Lawrence Tilton and wife Bonnie; and cousins Margie Munson (George), Martha Sawyars (Tommie), Jacque Allbright and Katy Walker (Ed).
Funeral arrangements are with the Pennington Funeral Home in San Marcos. A memorial service will be held at 10:00 am Saturday August 26 at the Westover Baptist Church in San Marcos.
Contributions to celebrate Kay’s life may be made to the William T. and Kay Tilton scholarship fund at Texas State University.