Friends remember Victoria woman for being there for students, parents
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Florence Tillmon was a mother to almost everyone in the Silver City community.
Her eldest daughter Rheba Jones remembers her mother's house always being filled with children.
"There were a lot of times she'd get a call from a parent in a tight situation," Jones said. "They'd sit here and watch TV until they were ready go."
Since the early 1980s, Tillmon ran a daycare from her home across the street from Dudley GT Magnet Elementary School.
On Saturday morning, Tillmon died after battling with congestive heart failure.
Over the years, she was recognized at the go-to babysitter for parents with children attending Dudley.
"She never asked for any money," said Gladys Conrad, a parent who not only relied on Conrad as a babysitter, but also as a mentor.
Conrad, who is married with two children, said Tillmon taught her how to be a parent.
Conrad said she was going through an angry phase in her life after losing her father at an early age.
"She taught me how to be a mother."
Tillmon is survived by four children, three foster children, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
The house on the corner of Callis Street was filled with laughter, food and family after the Wednesday morning funeral service.
Across the front of the house was a large white sheet that read "Thank you, Ms. Tillmon, we'll always love you," painted across it in different colors.
Donna Moellor, a fourth-grade Dudley GT Magnet Elementary School teacher painted the banner to honor the long-time neighborhood friend.
"We'll probably let it hang until it falls down," Jones said.
Xochitl Gonzalez, a Spanish teacher at Cade Middle School, used to work with Tillmon's youngest daughter, Kathy Bell, at Dudley Elementary School.
Gonzalez used to take her students across the street to the front of Tillmon's lawn so they could say "hello."
"They'd say, 'Good afternoon, Ms. Tillmon!' and she'd be sitting on the porch smiling back at us," Gonzalez said. "You'd always leave her house learning a life lesson. She would just make you see things in a different light."