Melville Tillis


Photo Credit: Panny Mayfield
1928 - 2013
Rest in Peace

Melville Tillis, 83

Melville Tillis, a longtime co-chairman of the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, avid supporter of the Delta Blues Museum, and friend. Tillis co-founded the Sunflower River Gospel Association with the late Julius Guy, and was acquainted with many musicians including Bobby Rush, Little Milton Campbell, Clayton Love, and others who played often at his business, the Rivermount Club. He played trumpet with many of Clarksdale's early musicians including Ike Turner's first hometown band. When asked about the experience, he said with a smile, "Actually, Ike played with us."

Community leader, educator, businessman, athlete, coach, historian, and chairman of the Clarksdale Public Utilities Commission for 15 years, he will be missed. To honor his contributions to the community, the Delta Blues Museum Stage was dedicated to him on March 11, 2013.

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