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Liberty trustee remembered for his strong leadership, faithful support

Liberty University is mourning the loss of longtime Board of Trustees member Gilbert “Bud” Tinney Jr., who died on Monday, Feb. 20, at age 85.

Tinney, a retired businessman from Grand Rapids, Mich., faithfully served on Liberty’s board for 48 years, selflessly giving of his time, service, and heart to invest in the students of Liberty University. He had served on the Executive Committee since 2016 and most recently was chairman of the President and Chancellor Search Special Committee, a role he held until his death. Over the years, he also served on the Long Range Planning, Spiritual Mission, and Audit Committees.

Tinney served on the board alongside his son, Will Tinney, who joined in 2019.

Bud Tinney and his wife of 55 years, Margee, have been generous supporters of Liberty University throughout the years, helping to provide students with state-of-the-art facilities and scholarships. The Tinney Café in the Jerry Falwell Library is named in their honor. Bud Tinney participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking of the latest addition to campus, the new Jerry Falwell Center, currently under construction. The facility will honor the founder’s lasting legacy and Liberty’s commitment to preserving its Christian mission.

Tinney’s other son, Gilbert “Gib” Tinney, and three of his grandchildren have attended Liberty.

“The Liberty family has lost a dear friend whose love and support for the university spanned nearly 50 years,” said Interim President Jerry Prevo. “Bud Tinney was most known for his love for Christ, his wife Margee and their family, and his love for Liberty University. Bud served in a number of key roles in Liberty’s leadership starting with the Board of Trustees in 1975. He was also a vital contributor and donor during some of the pivotal and challenging years of Liberty’s growth. On behalf of the entire Liberty family, I extend our condolences to the Tinney family and ask that you keep them in your prayers.”

“Bud Tinney was a man of tremendous faith and sacrifice who long served Liberty University in a number of roles,” said Chairman of the Board Tim Lee. “We labored together on the Executive Committee and the Search Committee, and the board is indebted to him for all the time and energy he dedicated to leading the search process. As one of the longest serving members, Bud was a tremendous gift to us all, and we thank God for the way He used Bud to impact so many of us across this whole university.”

Liberty Campus Pastor Jonathan Falwell, senior pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, called Tinney a close friend of the Liberty family.

“Bud came to Christ in the 1970s through listening to my dad preach on television,” he said. “Not long after trusting Christ, he brought his family to Lynchburg to meet my dad. A lifelong friendship ensued as a result. Bud has played a major role in Liberty’s leadership through his service to the board. We are grateful for all he has done to help lead this great institution.”

Fellow board member Penny Nance (’89) said she deeply respected Tinney for his dedication to Liberty. She has served with Tinney on the President and Chancellor Search Special Committee.

“I told anyone who worried about LU’s future leadership that they could rest easy because there is no purer heart or more courageous leader than Bud Tinney; I knew under his steady and bold leadership we would be successful,” Nance said. “We will so miss his kind heart, joyful presence and easy friendship. His labor of love will make it possible for Liberty University to train young Champions for Christ for generations until the Lord returns. Only in heaven will we know the full impact of his contribution.”

According to his obituary, Bud Tinney had been a Cadillac dealer since 1966, with stores in Buffalo, N.Y., and Lakeland, Fla. Since 2001, his sons have had a dealership in Greenville, Mich., where Bud was a regular feature, sharing his wisdom and experience. He loved collecting antique cars and was an avid reader of history. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather who will be greatly missed.

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25, at West Cannon Baptist Church, Belmont, Mich. Burial will take place in Buffalo, N.Y. At the request of the family, Jonathan Falwell and Jerry Prevo will jointly conduct the service.

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