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Tisdales mourn death of ‘great man’

BY BILL HAISTEN - Tulsa World Modified: May 19, 2009 at 9:29 am •  Published: May 19, 2009

A jazz musician who recorded eight albums, Wayman Tisdale died while in the midst of a national concert tour. This week, he was scheduled to perform three shows — In Seattle on Friday, at San Diego’s Gaslamp Festival on Saturday and in Houston on Sunday.

On Monday, William Tisdale recalled that when Wayman was a child, he received an acoustic guitar from his father. When Wayman needed a replacement string, he would use thread pulled from a section of worn carpet.

During the press conference, Weldon Tisdale acknowledged the "suddenness” of Wayman’s death.

"There was no indication that it would happen like this,” Weldon said. "None at all.”

William said Wayman was at his home on Thursday night and was rushed to St. John Medical Center on Friday morning.

"I was at home, getting ready for work, and my phone rang around 7:50 that morning,” William said. "And then I got another call that was more urgent. There was the initial shock that he was gone, but then there was the reality that he didn’t have to suffer anymore.”

"I think he and God had a deal, and (Wayman) left under his own terms.”

Weldon said the Tisdales have been uplifted by an avalanche of support both locally and nationally.

"So many people from around this nation have sent responses and e-mails and correspondence, and it’s been absolutely a blessing to see that (Wayman) touched so many lives,” Weldon said. "He loved people unconditionally, just for who they were. It’s not often that you find someone of his caliber who is so humble.”

"Part of us want to be surprised and overwhelmed and amazed by (the national reaction to Wayman’s death) ... Part of it does surprise me, but deep down inside, it shouldn’t surprise us. We’re getting reports from all over the country about major newspaper articles everywhere, in cities that he was never a part of. It’s rewarding to know that he is that well thought of.”

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