Omie Jennings Tillett – March 9, 1929 – July 5, 2019

Omie Jennings Tillett
March 9, 1929 – July 5, 2019

Omie Jennings “Sportsman” Tillett, 90, of Wanchese, NC crossed the bar on Friday, July 5, 2019.

A native of Dare County, he was born March 9, 1929, to the late Theresa Wescott and Hiram Gregory “Sambo” Tillett.

Along with his father and brother, Tony, Omie pioneered the Outer Banks’ offshore charter fishing industry. Captain of the Sportsman out of Oregon Inlet, his boatbuilding skills were renowned.

In January 2009, Omie was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest civilian honor in North Carolina, for his exceptional accomplishments and exemplary service as a citizen in his community. A member of the International Game Fish Association’s Hall of Fame, he was the 2010 Dare County Living Legend.

Above all, Omie was ‘topped off’ with love for the Lord. His signature “woooo” and holy ghost hugs were as well-known as his skills as a captain and boatbuilder. He began every morning by blessing the fleet which started a tradition that continues today.

Omie is survived by his wife, Patsy Tillett; daughter, Gail Lane (Ricky) of Manns Harbor, NC; five grandchildren, Wendy Fearing of Indiantown, FL, Woody Fearing, Jason Midgett, and Lauren Gornell (Chris) all of Manteo, NC; and six great-grandchildren, Taylor Midgett of Manteo, NC, Logan Midgett of Gastonia, NC, Mary Ann Fearing of Wilmington, NC, Omie Gornell of Manteo, NC, Brody Midgett of Gastonia, NC and Evelynn Midgett of Gastonia, NC. Also, surviving is his sister, Sarah Wynn Austin (Barry) of Hatteras; brother, Tony Tillett (Dianne) of Manteo, NC; and several nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a daughter, Karen “Dolly” Tillett; grandson, Grant Buckner; sister, Polly Tillett; and brother-in-law, Jack Tillett.

A funeral will be held at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, at the Whole Ministries Center (826 ER Daniels Rd, Wanchese, NC 27981) with Pastors Stephen Wescott and Kenny Midgett officiating. Private burial will take place at Tillett Cemetery. The family will receive friends and relatives Monday evening from 6:00 until 8:00 pm at Twiford Colony Chapel (500 Budleigh St, Manteo, NC 27954).

Memorial donations may be made to Dare County Boat Builders Foundation – Omie Tillett Scholarship Fund (PO Box 1473, Manteo, NC 27954 or online at or The Gideons International (PO Box 140800, Nashville, TN 37214 or online at

Twiford Funeral Home, Manteo is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories can be shared at


This story originally appeared on Read More local stories here.

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