My heart is heavy this evening as the Hot Springs community has lost two wonderful people, Nick and Ann Tillman. Nick and Ann were very close family friends, and we all will miss them dearly.
Nick and Ann were headed to Asheville, North Carolina, on a private plane when they crashed near Nashville, Tennessee, and investigators are wondering if weather played a part in the crash.
The pilot, Greg Secrest, flew a 1978 Beechcraft Baron, a twin-engine six-seater.
Pilot Bob Hall says, "I'm not sure what time it was, between nine, nine thirty, something like that, I heard a Baron start up and taxi by.
Hall knew Secrest had looked at his plane before the take-off. He says the 67-year-old pilot took good care of it. "They're great airplanes. Good, dependable airplanes. They carry a lot of weight and they go fast," he explains.
Secrest, along with Nick, 49, and Ann, 42, waited until clouds and rain cleared and then took off for Asheville, North Carolina. However, around 10:30 AM, the plane crashed 15 miles from the Nashville airport.
The Tillmans were such wonderful people. They owned a chain store called Romancing the Stone; their very first store is still on Central Avenue in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Ann was a volunteer. She was the chairman of the Designers Vision House, with FirstStep Arkansas, a school for challenged children.
Nick and Ann leave behind a beautiful family of three young daughters, one with autism and that's one reason Ann was so involved with FirstStep.
My family recently joined the Tillmans for Davis Tillman’s wedding. Davis is Nick’s brother. Now the family will join together again for a much more solemn occasion.
The Tillmans will be missed. They were such a big part of the Hot Springs community and touched so many lives. Nick and Ann, it will not be the same without you.