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Obituary for Thomas Larry Tiller
Thomas LarryTiller ("Larry") of Jackson, Mississippi, departed this earthly life on May 19, 2017, causing deep sorrow and loss to his family and countless others who were fortunate to call him a friend. A Requiem Eucharist will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral with burial following in Chapel of the Cross Episcopal Church Cemetery. Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral.
Born to Reverend Thomas ("Tommy") and Frances Tiller on June 25, 1951, in Greenville, Mississippi, Larry grew up in Jackson and graduated from Murrah High School. He was a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, where he majored in Finance and Real Estate.
Following graduation, he worked in the real estate industry before becoming the assistant to the owner/entrepreneur of a plastics manufacturing company, a position that developed his lifelong interest in entrepreneurship. He was later employed by Sperry-Vickers, working with the Pentagon to manufacture products for all branches of the United States Armed Forces. After a stint as a broker in the oil and gas production industry, Larry made his passion for cooking his primary occupation for the remainder of his life.
Larry was an extremely talented chef who found no greater joy than pleasing others with his delicious culinary creations. His love of food and cooking was evident even as a young child, when he would build campfires outside to sauté vegetables that he had grown in his garden. He honed his skills in culinary arts and eventually opened his own restaurant and catering business. Having a special passion for baking, Larry established Tiller Cookie and Biscotti Company in the early nineties, where he spent countless hours in his bakery creating mouthwatering classic cookies and biscotti using only the finest and freshest hand selected ingredients. Larry’s biscotti and cookies were sold in popular coffee houses throughout the South and to loyal customers who sought out his delectable treats until he ultimately closed shop and retired.
Larry pursued many interests, but he enjoyed traveling most of all. He and the love of his life for over 33 years, his wife, Teresa, adventured to many corners of the world, where they immersed themselves in the local culture and cuisine. Of all the places they visited, however, Larry’s favorite place to relax was on the hidden, less populated Gulf side beaches of the Florida Panhandle.
Larry was also an avid and astute reader, and most of his reading served to enlighten his understanding of people and the world. He would often be enthralled in a book on travel, history or some other academic or cultural work of literature. However, his affinity for the arts was not limited to the written word, and he studied jewelry, blown glass, pottery and paintings. A true Renaissance man, Larry immersed himself in his diverse interestsand was full of knowledge about those interests. Few ever experienced his company without learning or developing a better understanding of something about which he was passionate.
Larry had a love for nature and animals, and had many beloved pets throughout his life. He also enjoyed sporting events of all kinds and was a staunch and loyal supporter of the LSU Tigers on the gridiron and baseball diamond. He and Teresa traveled to as many playoff and championship games as possible to cheer on the Tigers to regional and national titles.
At home, when family or friends were fortunate enough to be over at the Tiller’s house on any given night, Larry would often throw an impromptu dinner together with whatever happened to be on hand that evening.Not only would he treat his guests with a rich and savory meal; Larry served them with a combination of laid-back and passionate storytelling and fellowship that perfectly complemented such a delightful dinner. To experience Larry’s passion about a future or past trip or event or the latest happening in the lives of one of the countless people he adored was a special treat.
Of the many events and places that were significant in Larry’s life, what he valued above all were the personal relationships he maintained with others, beginning with his quiet and unassuming faith in God. Gentle and good natured, Larry was a kind and caring man who saw the best in people and took a personal interest in everyone he met. He listened intently and exhibited genuine concern for the well-being of others. He and Teresa loved mentoring their younger friends, many of whom came to love Larry and trust his wisdom and fatherly advice.
Everywhere Larry went, his easygoing demeanor and quick-witted sense of humor brought happiness and laughter. Having lived life to the fullest, Larry’s life was well lived. He will be sorely missed by his family, friends and all who were fortunate to know him.
Larry was predeceased by his parents, The Reverend Thomas E. Tiller, Jr., and Frances Tiller. He is survived by his loving wife, Teresa; his sisters, Pamela Sultan of Jackson and Theresa Tiller Kennedy of Charlotte, North Carolina; his brother, John Tiller of Montgomery, Alabama; his niece Emily (Helias) Andriessen; and his nephew Scott (Kristen) Villar.
It would be Larry's preference that those wishing to memorialize him make a donation to Stewpot Community Services or the Animal Rescue Fund, or that they simply ask a friend to enjoy a fine meal together in his memory.