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WINSTON-SALEM — Marie Wright Williard Tilley, March 7, 1927 – June 10, 2014. Having retired after many years of working, Marie began to make quilts. This new pastime soon became a passion, and her many quilts now grace the homes of family and friends. Each of these quilts and their every stitch serve to warm us with the love with which each quilt was made. Those quilts are fabric and thread; they will fade and one day be gone. The quilt that will remain is the one Marie fashioned out of the fabric of her life with stitches of love, for her real talent was bringing together the diverse squares of those in her life and melding those squares into a work of beauty. Her parents Katherine Hunter and Elijah Wright, her brothers Jack, Thurman, and Alvin Wright, and sisters Leo Easterling and Gertrude Wilkins Frye predeceased her, but their memories, love, and influence in her life were ever-present. With her husband Fletcher Williard, Jr., she reared daughter Ronda (spouse, Hank Ely) and son Mark (spouse, Joyce Bettini). In the Davie County community in which Marie and Fletcher lived, they cherished their own extended families and the Green Meadows Baptist Church family. The ties established there helped to sustain Marie after the loss of her beloved husband Fletcher. Life gave her many more pieces to use in creating her quilt. Later in life she married Boyd Tilley (deceased) and moved to the Surry County community of Ararat. Boyd's children and their spouses (Eddie and Lois Tilley; Brent and Brenda Tilley) did more than make Marie a presence in their lives: they have welcomed her and shown her love and caring throughout the years that she has been a part of their family. She, in turn, loved them and appreciated how much they brought to her life. Their children (Amy and Sarah; Beth and Brad) were truly her grandchildren—and increased her happiness by making her a great-grandmother as well. Her community in Ararat, in particular her church family at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, became a central piece of her life quilt. Marie both took and gave spiritual sustenance within her church. She always offered kind words, a helping hand, a poem for her Sunday school class members, and, of course, a quilt for church raffles. Age and pain intruded on Marie's ability to complete the many quilting projects that she had in progress, but this closing phase of her life gave her occasions to further embroider her most important project. Under the care of Ronda and Hank in their home and later at Brighton Gardens, Marie shared with her children wonderful moments of reminiscence, humor, and the boundless love and faith that filled her life. A life as beautiful as one of her quilts: those of us who are part of its pattern share with each other the joy of having been brought together, and we honor her for the gift that her life has been. Ronda and Hank and Mark and Joyce thank all of those who have made Marie's life one of being loved and who have given her the opportunity to show her love in return. Friday, June 13, at Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home (Silas Creek Parkway, Winston-Salem), friends and family will be welcomed to visitation from 1:00—2:00, with the funeral following at 2:00 (Kermit Gray officiating). Donations in Marie's memory can be directed to Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 101 Inspiration Lane, Ararat, NC 27007, or to a .

Published in Mount Airy Newspapers from June 11 to June 13, 2014