Hearts Love 23

Joan Fay McLeod-Tillman

October 6, 1954 ~ December 19, 2021 (age 67)

Obituary Image


Joan Fay McLeod-Tillman transitioned from this life on December 19, 2021.  She was born to the late Leslie McLeod and Doris Bryan in Kingston, Jamaica on October 6, 1954.         

For much of her early childhood, Joanie (as she was so fondly known) lived with her aunt, Inez Clark, in Spaldings, Jamaica. While attending Sacred Heart Elementary School, she prepared for and passed the entrance examination for St. Hugh’s High School for Girls. To attend St Hugh’s in Kingston, Joanie had to go live with her aunt and uncle, Hazel and Roy McLarty, and cousins, Audrey, Peter, and Ann.

Joan was more like a sister than a cousin. She and Audrey became especially close, and their sisterhood was unbreakable. Joanie also assumed the “big-sister” role for younger cousins, Peter, and Ann.  She was a blessing, over the course of their lives, by her constant unwavering love and support.

Joan was an apt and dedicated student. She enjoyed her high school years. At St. Hugh’s, she met Denise Phillips and Charmaine Morrison, among many others, both becoming treasured lifelong friends. After completing Fifth Form (Grade 11), Joan left Jamaica to attend Montgomery College in Silver Spring, Maryland. She lived with her Aunt Pearl Damon and her husband, Uncle Gerald. While attending Montgomery College, Joan met Joyce Fuller, and they became roommates and best friends for life. 

Joan successfully completed college and set her sights on finding a job and becoming independent. Her career begins as an Administrative Assistant at the Indian Embassy; it then flourished until retirement with the International Monetary Fund.  

In 1986, Joan attended a cookout with Joyce and met Joseph Tillman. Despite conflicting accounts of who pursued whom, Joan and Joseph soon found they were destined for each other. They married in June 1989 and enjoyed a dedicated union of love, friendship, and mutual respect for the rest of their devoted lives.  Joan and Joseph were blessed with two beloved sons, Jason, and Joseph (Joey). Joan later became a mom to Lynn (Jason’s wife) and a proud grandmother to Mackenzie, Mya, Cameron, and Lennox, a role that she cherished and performed exceptionally well.

After retiring, Joan was able to pursue many interests, none more important than taking care of Mya and Cameron for the first years of their lives. She also enjoyed line dancing and home improvement, especially restoring, and improving her Florida home. Joan enjoyed spending time in West Palm Beach, where she quickly became a valued member of her neighborhood and community. She also loved plants, flowers, music, and a good pizza.

Joan knew who she was, what she wanted, and expected no more from others than she expected from herself. Unwaveringly loyal, supportive, and entirely nonjudgmental to family and friends alike. She was a constant source of comfort and support. 

Not liking fuss or pretense of any kind, Joan simply allowed the people in her world to relax and be themselves. In fact, she asked for nothing more. She was kind and supportive beyond measure, much of her help to family and friends were private and discreet. She did not need much and would always unfailingly share what she had. This included her time, effort, home, money, great food, and good advice. If you needed it, and she had it, it was yours. No judgment just support.

She was a role model for gracious hospitality. Nowhere was this more evident than in her home, as it was an extension of herself: warm, generous, solid, unpretentiously beautiful, and always there. Chances are, everyone that knew Joan remembers a Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter dinner, baby shower, a sleepover or long stay. More than likely, our memories would be similar: comfort, warmth, lots of laughter, overeating her delicious food (especially the oxtails), and needing naps after.

Joan was committed to excellence. She was meticulous and left nothing unfinished. She believed in the value and dignity of work, and this was evident in all areas of her life: her successful career, beautiful homes, and most importantly, her lifelong relationships with family and close friends brimming with love, trust, and mutual respect.

The roles Joan treasured most were mother and grandmother. She was deeply and tirelessly devoted to her sons, Jason, and Joey, cutting no corners, and sparing no effort to ensure they were comfortable and secure. Joan was also a friend to her sons, and her boys knew they could depend on her and be transparent with her without fear of judgment or unrealistic expectations. 

Her loved for her grandchildren were double or triple the loved she had for her sons. In typical Joan-fashion, she set about making her home theirs and devoting herself to their comfort and happiness. They also soon came to learn that “Nana” was a safe space for them simply to feel loved and encouraged to be themselves. 

Quiet, self-contained, and dignified to the end, Joan exemplified courage. She faced the truth squarely and refused to hide behind false hopes or unrealistic dreams. She saw life as it was and then quietly and peacefully went about making the best of it. She instinctively understood the power of living in the present moment; so even though she hoped and planned, she embraced each moment as it was, and she found the good in it. 

Joan left a space in the hearts of those who loved her that cannot be filled. That is simply because there is no one else like her. Yet, she also leaves behind lessons in living well: be authentic; accept people as they are; share what you have; and live your own truth. Joan lived a good life on her own terms and made the lives of those around her better. For those, and many other reasons, we celebrate her today and will celebrate her legacy for years to come. Rest in peace, Joan and may light perpetually shine on you.



The number of persons that will be able to attend the funeral service is limited. Please check with the family before coming to the service. Masks are required. Each adult will need to sign a COVID Waiver Form affirming they have not had any COVID related symptoms or been in contact with anyone with COVID in the last 2 weeks.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joan, please visit our floral store.


Live Streaming
January 14, 2022

1:00 PM
The Chapel at Snowden Funeral Home
246 N. Washington St
Rockville, MD 20850

Please note
To view the LIVE STREAM: At the time of service a box will appear under the obituary. Press the play icon to join. *Please note if the live broadcast does not begin at posted time, you are in the right place, there may be a brief delay* COVID PROTOCOL: Masks are required. Each adult will need to sign a COVID Waiver Form affirming they have not had any COVID related symptoms or been in contact with anyone with COVID in the last 2 weeks.
© 2022 Snowden Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy