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Matilda Gertrude "Tillie" Booker

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Matilda Gertrude "Tillie" Booker Obituary
Matilda "Tillie" Gertrude Booker

San Carlos Park - Matilda "Tillie" Gertrude Booker of San Carlos Park was called to heaven Jan. 29 a little more than a month shy of her 97th birthday.

Tillie and her twin, Mary, who preceded her, were born March 2, 1922 to Manuel and Elvira Alvarez. She and her sister were born in the home of their grandmother, Mary Pequeno, and said to be one of the first set of twins born in Ybor City area of Tampa.

Tillie was a graduate of Plant High School in Tampa in 1941 and was called "Spanish eyes" in her senior yearbook. She was known to dance as well as playing the violin and was a model for the former Maas Brothers department store chain in the city.

In 1952, she married Daniel Leonard Booker, an Air Force master sergeant, sharing 20 years together and having three children before his death in 1972. Tillie also had another daughter, Carole, by a previous marriage.

Known for her engaging smile, Tillie exemplified her Christian faith by thinking of others before herself and praying daily for those in need. For her, family always came first.

She had a passion for crocheting, drawing, painting, babysitting, cosmetology and working in her yard by planting flowers and mowing her lawn until age 90.

Tillie loved to play cards with her children, grandchildren, who, to their amusement, often wondered whether they were playing by her rules or the official rules.

A voracious reader, Tillie read the entire "Tarzan" series by Edgar Rice Burroughs and read her Bible daily.

She loved to sing and up until the time of her passing could often be heard singing tunes from Christmas albums, which she enjoyed hearing year round.

Tillie was also an avid Elvis Presley fan. In her Tampa home, she could be seen sitting for hours in her recliner watching videos of "The King's" movies on TV, while an Elvis clock, complete with swinging hips, hung on the wall keeping time. She would often go to sleep on a pillow covered with an Elvis pillowcase.

Tillie was an active member of New Beginnings Christian Church in Tampa until she moved into the home of her daughter in San Carlos Park, where she spent her remaining years, and was a member of New Day Christian Church.

Tillie was preceded in death by her sister, Mary Gonzalez and her brother, George Alvarez. She is survived by her children, Carole Ciucio Erickson (James) of Tampa; David Booker (Kay) of Tampa; Mary Ann Husty (Denes) of San Carlos Park; and Danise Foreman (Butch) of Lacassine, La. She also leaves 13 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren.

Burial will take place in Tampa during a private service to be held by the immediate family. A celebration of Tillie's life will be held on her birthday, March 2, at New Beginnings Christian Church in Tampa.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made locally to New Day Christian Church, 19091 S. Tamiami Trail, Fort Myers, FL, 33908.
Published in The News-Press on Feb. 10, 2019
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