Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Joe Tillotson, a graduate of Jesuit and SMU who helped establish several restaurants and bars including the Katy Trail Ice House, died April 22 after having cancer for years, CultureMap reported. He was 53.

Tillotson was born in Houston and spent his first few years as a child in El Paso before moving to Dallas in 1976. He grew up attending schools in Lake Highlands, such as Forest Meadow Junior High, before graduating from Jesuit in 1986. At Jesuit, he played football and basketball, according to the Dallas Morning News obituary.

He then enrolled at Dartmouth, where he continued playing basketball and received a bachelor’s in economics in 1990. Later, he earned his MBA at the SMU Cox School of Business in 1999.

The local business owner, who was the fourth of five brothers, had a long history with Texas. A seventh-generation resident of the state, he was a descendant of Jose Antonio Navarro, one of the first signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

Among the restaurants Tillotson helped found with friends are The Barley House, Muddy Waters, Bryan Street Tavern, the Metropolitan, City Tavern, Banditos Tex-Mex, Katy Trail Ice House, Katy Trail Ice House Outpost and Redfield’s Tavern.

Tillotson is survived by his wife, Mary Katherine “Katy” Tillotson, their six children, his parents, his four brothers, their wives and nieces and nephews.

There will be a funeral Mass at St. Monica Catholic Church on May 1 at noon.

Instead of flowers, donations can be made to Jesuit in the name of the John R. Tillotson scholarship fund.


Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.