Doris Yvonne Duckworth Tillis, age 79, died peacefully in her sleep on August 28, 2019 at her home in Ashland City, Tennessee. Born in Plant City, Florida, she was the daughter of Lora Knight and James R. Duckworth of Dover where she spent her childhood and attended Turkey Creek High School.
Doris became the bride of Mel Tillis, also of Dover, in 1957 and together they moved to Nashville, Tennessee where she supported his promising career as a country songwriter and musician. Mel’s career flourished as Doris became a creative partner and inspiration as well as a devoted Mother. The joy of her life was raising her children and grandchildren and providing a creative environment for each one to develop unique talents in music, art, gardening, exploring literature or writing.
Nicknamed the “Mixed Media Queen”, Doris saw art in every imaginable source and created over 1,000 original pieces, many on her handmade paper. She loved to whittle walking sticks and carve wooden buttons from collected branches found on hikes in the woods. An avid potter, Doris designed tiles, built clay birdhouses and greeted guests with a block of clay and inspiration to pinch a pot.
Her creative genius flowed through her writing of stories and songs, sculpting, painting, designing and planting colorful gardens, inviting habitats for birds and delightful, whimsical plays on nature wherever she lived. She depicted art around scenes that touched her - and everything did. Doris was known among Nashville Artists, studied at Watkins Art Institute, and was a winner of the Curry Award in Stone Sculpture, and once taught a writing class to the homeless of Nashville.
The consummate hostess, family and friends were welcomed, at her home in Branson, MO or Nashville, TN, with the aroma of mystic biscuits, fresh baked cookies or memorable home cooked meals.
She was a force of life, love and art. She clung to Psalms 23.
She is preceded in death by her mother, Lora Knight Duckworth, father, James Reavis Duckworth, sister Delma and brother Lowell Duckworth. She is survived by her children; Pamela Tillis Spicher (Matt) of Nashville, TN, Connie Lynn Tillis of Branson, MO, Cindy Shorey (Kevin), Mel Tillis Jr. (Madelyn) and Carrie April Tillis all of of Ashland City, TN; grandsons Ben Mason, Phillip Hollingsworth, Marshall Howden, Tanner Westmoreland and granddaughters, Katherine Westmorland, Madison Howden; one great, grandson Ray Hollingsworth; a brother, Charles Duckworth; sister, Dianne Lane; loving nieces and nephews; and her most precious companion…JASPER, a rescued dog, who was always faithfully by her side.
A private family burial will be held in Henrietta, TN with a memorial planned for a later date in Nashville, Tennessee.
In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made to Ridgecrest Summer Camps in Ridgecrest, North Carolina, P.O. Box 279, Ridgecrest, North Carolina, 28770, or The Caring People, P.O. Box 164, Branson, MO 65616.
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