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Obit: Mel Tillis (1932-2017)

GUEST,Kallita 19 Nov 17 - 08:31 PM
Big Al Whittle 19 Nov 17 - 09:53 PM
Ebbie 19 Nov 17 - 10:25 PM
wysiwyg 20 Nov 17 - 02:33 PM
frogprince 20 Nov 17 - 05:40 PM
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Subject: Obit: Mel Tillis
From: GUEST,Kallita
Date: 19 Nov 17 - 08:31 PM

Tillis, who overcame stuttering en route to a career in country music and more, has long owned a ranch east of Ocala, where he loved to paint and raise cattle.

Mel Tillis, the stuttering songwriter turned country music legend and Marion County resident, died Sunday at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala. He was 85.

Tillis, who wrote hits for Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs and many others, had been battling intestinal issues since 2016 and never fully recovered. The suspected cause of death is respiratory failure, according to Tillis? spokesman Don Murry Grubbs.

Tillis, father of country singer Pam Tillis, recorded more than 60 albums and had more than 30 top 10 country singles, including ?Good Woman Blues,? ″Coca Cola Cowboy? and ?Southern Rain.? Among the hits he wrote for others were ?Detroit City? for Bobby Bare; ?Ruby, Don?t Take Your Love to Town,? by Rogers and the First Edition, and ?Thoughts of a Fool? for George Strait.

Buddy Martin, an Ocala resident and longtime sports journalist and book author who anchors the weekly ?Terry Bradshaw Show? on radio, said his association with the NFL Hall of Fame quarterback led to him meeting Tillis. Bradshaw, who has been good friends with Tillis since they appeared together in the movie, ?Cannonball Run? in 1981, recently wished Tillis well on the radio show, Martin said.

?Terry talked to Mel regularly,? Martin said. ?Even though he was in hospice, Mel told Terry three weeks ago about his plans; what he was going to do next in life. I am sure he was picking (a guitar) until the end.?

Tillis told Martin about his journey to stardom. Tillis said he was embarrassed about his stuttering so he wrote songs and stayed behind the scenes. Tillis later recounted that, eventually, he began singing.

?People are not laughing at you, they are laughing with you,? Tillis told Martin of conversations that led him on stage and to his stint as a comedic actor in ?The Cannonball Run,? where he stuttered himself into the heart of many more Americans.

Country music stars Charlie Daniels, Crystal Gayle and Blake Shelton offered their condolences on Twitter.

?Mel Tillis, you will be missed by so many of us you touched over the years,? Daniels tweeted. ?Rest in peace my friend.?

?Mel Tillis was a special friend, great artist, and constant inspiration to me ? Heaven?s choir just got sweeter,? said country singer Randy Travis on Twitter.

Tillis has a ranch on the edge of the Ocala National Forest. Tillis, whose painted artwork has been displayed throughout Ocala in recent years, was born in Tampa and raised in Pahokee. He told the Star-Banner in 2012 that he was aware of Ocala from family drives between Lake Okeechobee and Gainesville. His home is off State Road 40 and serves as a cattle ranch, fishing hole, costume warehouse and an artist studio. It even has a dry dock for the yacht that close friend Burl Ives left Tillis when he died.

In 2012, President Obama awarded him the National Medal of the Arts. In a story in the Star-Banner back then, Tillis, then 79, talked about his dozens and dozens of awards. He stood near his glass cases at his ranch and shared some of the memories associated with the memorabilia and hardware that he had collected during his 57-year career.

Tillis, who had even more awards at his Tennessee ranch, is a member of three halls of fame: Florida Artist, Country Music, and Songwriters. He said despite those elite honors, including Entertainer of the Year and Songwriter of the Decade, his prized award is the National Medal of the Arts he received in 2012 from President Obama at the White House.

?It?s the biggest,? he says. ?I thought I?d won them all, until that come along. It?s bigger than a Grammy. The honor is bigger than ?Detroit City,? bigger than all my songs put together.?

According to a White House press release about the award, Tillis was recognized for his contributions to country music.

?Mr. Tillis famously overcame a stutter to develop his iconic style, both poetic and down-to-earth,? the release noted. ?Having written over 1,000 songs and recorded more than 60 albums, Mr. Tillis brought his unique blend of warmth and humor to the great tradition of country music. He remains one of the most inventive artists of the golden generation of singer-songesongwriters.?

Chief Dennis Strow of the Williston Police Department, said during his tenure at the Marion County Sheriff?s Office that the sheriff?s office honored Tillis and the Marion County Commission even created a Mel Tillis Day. Strow said he was down to earth and ?knew where his roots were.?

?He was a class act,? Strow said.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Mel Tillis
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 19 Nov 17 - 09:53 PM

sorry to hear this.
back in 70's and '80's I played a lot of country gigs.

I played Ruby and Detroit City. I think one should always respect the writers who have helped you make a living as an artist. I seem to remember Mel playing the Wembley Country Music Festival in the days Mervyn Conn used to promote it. There was a fleeting glimpse of him in the Clint Eastwood film Every Which Way But Loose , the one with the monkey. 'That was Mel Tilis!' one said to uncomprehending partners - then he was gone!

His name takes me back to those days of H bar C shirts and endless gigs in the north of England in Miner's Welfare Clubs.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Mel Tillis
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Nov 17 - 10:25 PM

As if I needed another reminder of my age! RIP, Mel Tillis. You brought us a lot of music and laughter.

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Subject: RE: Obit: Mel Tillis (1932-2017)
From: wysiwyg
Date: 20 Nov 17 - 02:33 PM

Great voice, nice man. :-(

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Subject: RE: Obit: Mel Tillis (1932-2017)
From: frogprince
Date: 20 Nov 17 - 05:40 PM

Long ago I heard him tell one of those jokes that a guy maybe shouldn't repeat, but which cracked me up and stuck with me:

"I went out on a coyote date last night. You know what a coyote date is? That's when you wake up in the morning, look at what's laying on your arm, and chew your arm off so you can get away without waking her up."

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