Tillie Oneida Seay, 95, left this life on Sunday, June 19, 2022, surrounded by family members at a local hospital.
She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on November 11, 1926, to Oneida Haliburton.
The death of Tillie’s mother at an early age left her and Melvin Millard Haliburton, her only brother, to be adopted and raised by their Aunt Pressie and Uncle Butler. In a loving and religious home, they learned, along with 14 cousins, that they affectionately called their brothers and sisters values and dignity.
She joined Hawkinsville Missionary Baptist Church in New Tyner at a tender age and remained a faithful member until her death. She was a Sunday School and Bible School teacher, an usher, and a member of the senior choir.
She was an active and intelligent young woman who excelled in academics and basketball at Booker T. Washington High School and attended Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia on a scholarship.
Tillie found her kindred spirit in her childhood friend, the late Leonard (Willie) Seay Jr. Willie – tall, dark and handsome, married Tillie in 1947; the union lasted 22 years and produced four beautiful children.
In her adult life, Tillie’s passion was her children and her family. She enjoyed playing softball on the Tyner Cubs co-ed team. She enjoyed playing dominoes, teaching her friends to drive, traveling with the church choir, taking Diet Cokes, doing crossword puzzles, and was an avid reader. Tillie also spent many years as a housekeeper for the Farr, Hedges and Patton families. His first job was at Memorial Hospital and the Sportsman.
Friends and family describe Tillie as a “character”, an endearing term meaning funny and feisty. She was always ready to give you a part of her mind, but she would also give you the last thing, making her a friend to all. Tillie’s free spirit and love of life amassed many friends and an extended family that she nurtured.
She was predeceased by her mother, Oneida, her son Maurice and her brother Millard.
She leaves behind to cherish her memory her children, Brenda Seay Shelton of Chattanooga, Sharon Seay of Kennesaw, GA, and Kevin Seay (Deidre) of Gardena, CA; grandchildren: Randall Pickett of Chattanooga, Kectia Shelton of Chattanooga, Camillia “Lady” Stewart (Eric) of Knoxville, TN, Duval Seay of Roanoke, VA, and Joshua Daniels of Phoenix, AZ; great-grandchildren, Brewen Welcher of Chattanooga, TaMaurice “Tee” Higgins of Cincinnati, OH, and Shakia “Keke” Stewart of Oak Ridge, TN; great-great-grandchildren, Ze’ Yana Stewart and LaRez Dendy, both of Oak Ridge, TN; nieces, Deborah Kyles-Williams, Port St Lucie, FL, and Michelle Kyles Dawson, Belleville, MI; nephew, Heath Haliburton Sr. of Chattanooga; great-grandniece, Jalissa Haliburton-Reeves of Dayton OH and great-grandnephew, Heath Haliburton Jr. of Las Vegas, NV; special cousins, Rosetta Strickland of Chattanooga, Patricia Broadnax of Jackson, TN, Harvey Broadnax of Chattanooga and Pressie Wasson of Stockton, CA; lifelong best friend, Mrs. Emma Jean Broadnax; surrogate daughters, Wilma McClure Brown, Loretta Lofton, and Shirley Davenport; his longtime caregiver, Dorothy Wiley Reed; and a host of loving cousins, family and friends, whom Tillie called “My parents”.
Tillie, indeed, a phenomenal woman, was a devoted mother, grandmother, aunt and friend who will be missed but never forgotten. In honor of “Tillie”, we ask that you consider making a donation to the Alzheimer’s Association. PO Box 41428, Nashville, TN 37204.
Ms. Seay will be inducted Saturday, July 1 at 9:30 a.m. at Hawkinsville Missionary Baptist Church. Services will follow at 11 a.m. at the church.
Interment will be at Lakewood Memory Gardens, East.