A Mount Vernon man has become the first East Texas casualty of the violent storms over the past two days. He was affectionately known to everyone in Mount Vernon as Uncle Johnnie. 76 year old Johnnie Tillery was killed last night after a massive oak tree crashed through the roof of his home.
"I'm amazed and sad to see a person as nice as him would be taken this way" said Deputy Chief Ricky Jones of the Franklin county sheriffs office. Investigators say Tillery appeared to be sleeping in a recliner when it happened. Trying to deal with his sudden loss, his family is trying to remember how much good he did for his community.
"What I remember most about Uncle Johnnie is that he wasn't just my uncle he was everybody's uncle, the whole town knew him as Uncle Johnnie and treated him that way, he just loved everybody, everyone was his friend" said Tillery's great niece Jennifer Templeton.
He lived by simple means, no phone no running water, but he lavished money and presents on his family and many others, and always helped anyone in financial need.
"Kids having graduations, or birthdays he always had presents for them, a quiet man but if somebody needed help you'd see Johnnie" Jones said. Many remember him as the Dairy Queen man, every day he ate at the diner always ordering the same thing, coffee and a "Dude" , and every week he brought gifts to the girls that worked there. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Bob Hallmark, reporting.
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