Anita June Blackman Tillman passed away on February 6, 2005 in Dyersburg, Tenn. She was born in the early morning hours on February 18, 1923, four hours after her mother, Enola Corinne Morgan Blackman, age 19 years, was pulled from a second story window of a burning house by her father, Charles Edwin Vincent Blackman.
In the first five days following her birth, the tiny community of Parma, Mo., celebrated the birth of their newest citizen, but by the sixth day of her life, her mother, Enola became gravely ill from complications following the birth and Enola died on the tenth day after our Mother was born.
Both sets of grandparents, as well as other aunts and uncles, resided in the small town where her Father was a pharmacist, and the family all worked together to provide our Mother with love and security. Her mother's dying request was that our Mother would be raised in the home of her maternal grandparents, Laura Ellen and William Barrickman Morgan whom she always called "Ma Ma and Pa Pa." Her mother had been the oldest of four children, so she because the youngest child in the family and always loved her aunt, Willette, and uncles Max and William, as though they were her sister and her brothers. In a very real sense, the whole community raised her.
In 1940 when she was 17 years of age, she graduated from high school and two weeks later her Granddad Morgan died unexpectedly in a car accident. The family was planning to send her to Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., but she decided to stay near her Grandmother and chose to attend a Secretarial School in Cape Girardeau, Mo. so that she could come home on week-ends. By that time, she had also met a handsome young man who stole her heart away, named Edward Tillman and on September 7, 1940, the two of them slipped off to Farmington, Mo. and married. She didn't tell her family about her marriage for a while, but as always, her Grandmother Morgan found out and when she spotted Edward one evening, outside the family home in Parma, called him into the house and told them both that she knew of the marriage and that our Mother needed to go be with her husband.
She was an active member of the Presbyterian Church of Parma, Mo. and of the Caruthersville Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church of Caruthersville, the Methodist Church of Wardell and, most recently, the United Methodist Church of Hayti. She was the spiritual anchor of her family and taught us that we should love the Lord and trust His Word.
She is survived by their four children: George Edward Tillman Jr., Ellen Suzanne Carpenter, Robert Stephen Tillman, and Marilyn Dianne Maclin, their spouses, ten grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren (and one on the way) and by several cousins who were always thought of as nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband, George Edward Tillman, who passed away on October 25, 2004, by two grandsons, Edward Leland Carpenter and Christopher Edward Maclin, one great-granddaughter, Elise Hope Woessner, by her parents and grandparents, her aunt, and two uncles, who were always thought of as her sister and her brothers.
Memorial services were held Saturday, Feb. 12, 2005 at 11 a.m. in the First United Methodist Church in Hayti, Mo. with Rev. Brian Carpenter and Rev. Sue Cubbage officiating. Burial was in the Pemiscot Memorial Gardens near Caruthersville, Mo.
John W. German Funeral Home of Hayti, Mo. was in charge of services.