Obituary-Frances Pope Tillar

Frances Pope Tillar, age 96, of Emporia, died on February 15, 2016, after a long battle with failing health.  She was born on June 9, 1919, to Amos Person and Grace Wilroy Pope in Drewyville, Virginia.  She was educated in Southampton County and graduated as Valedictorian of her senior class.  She then attended Farmville State Teachers College (now Longwood University) and graduated in 1940 with a B.S. in Education.  She taught school in Southampton County for a year before marrying Vernon I’Anson Tillar, DDS on April 15, 1941.  They were married for sixty-five years until his death on July 5, 2006. In December 1941, she and Vernon heard on the radio about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Vernon volunteered and served as Captain in the Army Dental Corps during World War II.  Frances accompanied him to Camp Blanding in Gainesville, Florida, where he was stationed for three and a half years as Chief of Prosthodontics at a three thousand-bed Army hospital.  Frances taught school while living in Gainesville.  After the war, they returned to Emporia where he practiced dentistry for fifty-two years.  Frances worked with him in his office on Hicksford Avenue until he retired in 1986.  In 1963, she and Vernon acquired one of the first lots on Lake Gaston in Little Emporia before the lake was even filled with water.  The lake home always held a special place in her heart for more than fifty years, and she loved spending time there with her family.

Frances was active in the Emporia community until she moved to Richmond to live with her daughter, Kay, on December 13, 2013.  She was a long-time member of the Emporia Book Club, several bridge clubs and the Hicksford Chapter of the N.S.D.A.R., where she served as Registrar for more than thirty years.  She was the leader of Girl Scout Troop 23 for ten years.  Although she was raised a Methodist, she joined Main Street Baptist Church after marrying Vernon.  She served there in many capacities including Sunday school teacher, GA leader, Vacation Bible School Director, choir member, Building Committee member for the new Sanctuary, George Braswell Circle member, Trustee and deacon.  In 1979, she became the first woman to be elected Chairman of the Board of Deacons.  She always loved her church, and it was a very important part of her life.

She is predeceased by both of her parents, her husband, and one sister, Kathryn Wilroy Pope.  She is survived by two daughters of Richmond, Terry Tillar Fields, her husband, William George Fields, and Kathryn Tillar Montgomery and her husband, William Louis Montgomery; three grandchildren, Tillar Scott Fields and his wife Melissa, Mason Tillar Montgomery and Kathryn Pope Montgomery; and three great grandchildren, Grace Tillar Fields, William George Fields II, and EsméFee Fields. 

Visitation will be held on Friday, February 19 from 4-6 p.m. at Echols Funeral Home, 806 Brunswick Avenue, Emporia, VA. Graveside funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 20 at 11 a.m. followed by a memorial service at 12:00 p.m. at Main Street Baptist Church conducted by the Rev. Dr. Ricky Hurst and the Rev. Dr. George Braswell.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Main Street Baptist Church, 440 S. Main Street, Emporia, VA 23847.

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