Minister Mattie Denise Tillman Rice, age 62, of Statesville, NC, formerly of Knoxville, TN, and a former student of Knoxville College, passed away peacefully after battling a longtime illness in her only child's home on Thursday morning, May 4, 2023, in Harrisburg, NC.
Mattie was born June 11, 1960 in Chattanooga, TN, to the late John Henry Tillman and the late Lizzie Kate Scruggs Tillman. She was also preceded in death by her siblings, Willie Armour, Grady Tillman and Freida Alexander.
Mattie was a dedicated child caregiver for many years and easily helped raise over 100 children. Mattie owned "We are the Children" daycare and learning center with her best friend, Pamela Patterson, who preceded her in death. Mattie will be remembered for her very giving personality and big heart. She was a local AM radio personality in Knoxville. Mattie also enjoyed using her powrful singing voice to minister to the elderly. She was the minister of music and led several choral groups at various churches in Statesville and Knoxville. Mattie loved organizing the Gospel in the Park festivals in Knoxville to spread the gospel and fundraise to support local communities in need. Most of all, Mattie dearly loved her grandbabies, who affectionately called her "Nee Nee."
A loving, devoted mother and grandmother, and friend, who leaves to mourn her passing, yet also rejoice in her ascension to a higher and more heavenly place: Her daughter, LeAndra Rice (James) Walker; 3 loving grandchildren, Naomi, Elijah and Joshua; 5 surviving siblings, Patricia Armour, Johnny Armour, Dorothy Tillman, Johnetta (Marshall) Dotson and Anthony Tillman; and a host of devoted family members and friends.
A memorial song and music celebration of Mattie's life will be held on Friday, May 12, 2023, from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm at Christian Outreach of the Piedmont, 1424 Rickert Street, Statesville, NC. A second memorial service will be held on Thursday, May 18, 2023, from 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm at Children of God COGIC Ministries, 309 Deadrick Ave., Knoxville, TN.
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