JoAnne C. Tilly
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JoAnne C. Tilly
  • December 30, 1928 - November 3, 2017
  • Brentwood, California

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Joanne Crow Tilly passed away quietly early in the morning November 3rd, almost 3 months to the day after the love of her life, Melvin. Joanne and Mel lived a rich life, full of adventure and travel, but always put their family first. They lived in their own home until a few months before their deaths.

Joanne was born in Chicago, Illinois, December 30, 1928, to Robert and Helen Crow. She grew up near The Loop downtown, and was a true city girl of the time. Joanne shared many wonderful childhood memories with her older brother, Neil, and a multitude of cousins. As a young adult, Joanne attended Grinnell College in Iowa where she studied to become a physical therapist. After practicing for a few years, she traveled to Fort Worth, Texas to begin a new life. It was there, in February, 1956 that Joanne met Mel Tilly, at a Catholic church gathering. They were engaged a few months later and married by the end of that year.

Not long after they were married their first child was born, with five more to follow. Joanne embraced her job as a wife and mother. The family moved several times before settling in Concord, California. Joanne spent her days volunteering at schools and running the household. Family dinners were of the utmost importance to her-in spite of everybody's busy schedules, she made sure that the family gathered around the table every night to discuss the day. She ran a warm and welcoming household and always made time to chat with and counsel not just her own children, but also their friends and the many young people who visited. In her free time, Joanne enjoyed camping, often driving long hours in search of the perfect spot to drop their early 1970's Bayliner boat and camping gear, to enjoy some water skiing and relaxing family time. She also enjoyed singing in the church choir, reading, sewing, knitting, and needlepoint. Joanne made friends easily and loved to socialize. She often hosted or attended long, drawn out bridge games. She was never one to miss a party, (a throwback to her Northside Chicago upbringing).

In 2002, Mel and Joanne sold their home in Concord and moved to the Somerset community in Brentwood, CA. There, they made a lot of new friends and kept a busy social schedule. Joanne indulged her love of travel by visiting China, Russia, Greece, Mexico, and nearly all 50 states. She also continued her passion for singing by performing with the Somerset singers.

Joanne wore many hats during her lifetime, but her greatest love and highest priority was always her family. She demonstrated her love in countless ways through her words, her actions, and her example. She will be dearly missed, but always remembered with love and gratitude.

Joanne was preceded in death by her loving husband of 61 years Melvin John, her parents Robert and Helen, her brother Neil, and her daughter-in-law Amy. She is survived by her children Mark Tilly (Laura), Mike Tilly (Jan), Diane Fairley (Chris), Daniel Tilly (Nicole), Steve Tilly (Terri) and youngest Laura Tilly. Additionally Joanne had 14 grandchildren Eric (Juliet), Katie (Henry), Jason (Evan), Adam, Phillip, Nick, James, Nicole, Jacob, Alec, Paul, Tristan, Erin and Cassiel. Joanne's legacy of loving compassion lives on in each of them.

A Funeral Mass will take place at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, 500 Fairview Ave, Brentwood, CA on Thursday November 16, 2017 at 11am. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to your favorite charity in her name.