Former House Minority Leader Jim K. Tillman, 77, died Wednesday at his home in Tallahassee. Tillman had been seriously ill since last fall and under hospice care at home.
He was elected to the Legislature in 1967 and served his Sarasota County district until 1974. He worked to extend rights to psychiatric patients with the passage of the state’s Baker Act and the Myers Act, a landmark law that helped alcoholics find treatment. Both stemmed from his work as a sheriff’s deputy in the 1960s. After he left the Legislature Tillman moved to Tallahassee and became a lobbyist for the pari-mutuel industry, the Florida Hotel and Motel Association, the Florida Public Defenders Association and others.
Born in Adel, Ga., Tillman moved to Florida in 1936 and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in criminal justice.
Survivors include his wife Barbara; sons Justin, John Daniel, James Sanders Sauls and daughters Teresa Dorough, Jimi Lynn Megaree and Cynthia Sauls Kynoch, 13 grandchildren and 4 great grandhildren.
Times senior correspondent Lucy Morgan