The former Doris Duckworth met Mel Tillis in Dover, Fla. while she was selling tickets at the local drive-in theater. Tillis was eight years older than his 16-year-old love interest. The couple eventually wed and moved to Nashville, where Doris supported her husband's career as a songwriter and recording artist.
She's survived by her '90s country star daughter Pam (and her husband Matt) and Mel Jr. (and wife Madelyn), a singer and songwriter who sometimes appears at Nashville's popular Honky Tonk Tuesday events at American Legion Post 82. Other survivors include Tillis' daughters Connie, Cindy (and husband Kevin) and Carrie, plus six grandchildren one great-grandson and a rescue dog named Jasper.
Per her obituary, Tillis was a mixed media artist specializing in pottery and sculpting: "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."
Tillis will be buried in a private ceremony in Henrietta, Tenn. A public memorial service is being planned for Nashville. In lieu of flowers, the family requests docations to the Ridgecrest Summer Camps in North Carolina or The Caring People in Branson, Mo.