|On May 20, 1990, the Quitman United Methodist Church was filled to capacity for a memorial service for a much beloved native son who had twice served the church as pastor. Although a lengthy illness had denied him the frequent contacts that he had had with the Quitman people during the last few years, the love that he had for them was reflected in those who were gathered for this last service in a church that he had served so faithfully.
Tillman Armstead Brown was born in a farm home on the outskirts of Quitman, Louisiana, March 26, 1908. He was educated in the Jackson Parish schools. On November 9, 1930 he was married to Gladys Sneed in Oak Grove, Louisiana. To this union were born four sons: Gerald W., Donnie D., Travis D., and Wade G. Tillman became a welder and machinist and held a high position in the Hedge Paper Mill before being called into the ministry.
He grew up in the Bear Creek Methodist Protestant Church near Quitman and was a member of that church when during the ministry of Rev. A. D. Ashley he felt the call to become a Minister of the Gospel. He was licensed to preach on October 16, 1934 and was received on trial in the Methodist Protestant Conference. He was ordained and received into full connection in 1938. When the three branches of Methodism united in 1939 he became a member of the Louisiana Annual Conference of The Methodist Church.
His first appointment to the Antioch-Evergreen-Quitman Circuit permitted him to live in the home where he had grown up in Quitman. But on his second appointment, and that to the Mt. Zion-Montgomery Circuit, he found it necessary after a year of driving back and forth to move to Mt. Zion. He installed the first electric lights in the Mt. Zion parsonage.
During the forty-four years of his ministry he served the following appointments: Brownville, Gordon Avenue, and Claiborne in the Monroe-West Monroe Area, Quitman-Clay, Chatham-Zoar, and Center Point. He took the retirement relationship at Center Point in 1973 but went on preaching until 1977. While serving three churches in Monroe and West Monroe, the four sons all graduated from Ouachita Parish High School.
Gerald married the former Mary Whitehead, Donnie married Sue Ann Lovelle, Travis married Anna L. Thorne, and Wade married Cathy Channell. There are seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Brother Brown was soft spoken but forceful when he needed to be. In one of his appointments, he and the Baptist Minister alternated in preaching on the street in front of the local tavern. He had a great interest in children and youth and set up a welding school at one of his appointments to help the boys learn a trade. He never lost interest in the plants and animals of the farm, and raised cattle after his retirement.
His love for people was manifested in a statement that he made to his wife as he came toward the end of the way when he said, “If I had it to do over again, I would spend more time in helping people around me to know that they are loved.”
But the fact that he did express love so well was seen in the lives of all of us who have been enriched by him. His deep commitment to the Lord’s work was reflected in the many sacrifices that he made for the Kingdom of God. As we celebrated his life in his memorial service, Rev. James Poole pointed out that the words used by St. Paul in his second letter to Timothy describing his own home going also applied to this faithful veteran of the cross. For Tillman too could have said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.., and not only to me but also to all those who love his appearing.” II Timothy 4:7-8
|Source: Journal Louisiana Conference, 1990; p. 220……………..By Merlin W. Merrill|