Mary Katherine Tillman

December 15, 1940 ~ October 21, 2022 (age 81) 81 Years Old

Mary Katherine Tillman Obituary


Mary's funeral will be livestreamed at


Mary Katherine Tillman, age 81 died at Wellbrooke Senior Care Residence on October 21, of complications associated with esophageal cancer.  She lived with her husband, Phillip Sloan, in Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame  since their marriage in 2010.  She was born in St. Louis, the daughter of Esther Schwienher Tillman and John Vincent Tillman, both professors at St. Louis University.  She attended Xavier High School in St. Louis and her degrees were from Mundelein College, Chicago (B.A.), St. Louis University (M.A.) and the New School for Social Research, New York City (Ph.D.).  She retired in 2006 as a professor in the University of Notre Dame’s  “Great Books” program, the Program of Liberal Studies, where she taught since 1973.  From 1979-1982 she was Assistant Provost of the University.  Before coming to Notre Dame, she also taught briefly at Rutgers University, Mundelein College (Chicago) and Clarke College (Dubuque).  Her research and publications (books, articles, CDs, DVD) are on the thought of Saint John Henry Cardinal Newman. 

The two awards that meant the most to her were the 1985 annually-given Sheedy Award in Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters for excellence in teaching and the 2019 Gailliot Award for “Lifetime Achievement in Newman Studies” by the National Institute for Newman Studies.

She is survived by her husband, Phillip R. Sloan, siblings Claire Tillman Koch of St. Charles, MO; William L. Tillman (Susan) of Richards, MO; Thomas (Deborah) Tillman of Wentzville, MO; and by cherished nieces, nephews, and step children. Her elder brother John V. Tillman Jr. is deceased. (added by family: She is also survived by the many colleagues, students and friends whose life she has deeply enriched over many years.)

 A reception and remembrance service will be held at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N Bendix Dr, South Bend, IN 46628 from 4:30-7:30 pm Thursday evening, October 27. The Mass of Christian Burial  will be held  in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame at 9:30 am Friday, 10/28, followed by burial in Cedar Grove Cemetery at Notre Dame. Contributions in her name can be made to Catholic Relief Services.

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