Hundreds Attend Tisdale Viewing, Service

Wednesday, May 20th 2009, 8:23 am
By: News On 6

By Craig Day, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- On Thursday morning, a funeral will be held for Wayman Tisdale, who will be remembered as a basketball great, jazz musician and favorite son of Tulsa.

On Wednesday, a public viewing was held at Tisdale's church, including a special service.

Before a standing room-only sanctuary at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, friends and fans of Tisdale honored the sports, entertainment and Oklahoma icon.

"Wayman was so full of love, so full of life that his absence is so loud," said Cassandra Robinson, a friend of Tisdale's.

Though emotional, the service was also uplifting, and very personal and touching.

"He called me about a month ago," said Tony Mason, another friend of Tisdale's. "He was on the road, and he said, 'I just wanted to hear your voice.' That's Wayman. 'I just wanted to hear your voice, man. You're my friend.'"

Tisdale was a friend to many. He's being remembered as a man who could laugh and smile through anything, even the cancer that claimed his life Friday at age 44.

"You never knew when he was hurting," Mason said. "You never knew when he was sad. You never knew when Wayman was going through anything, because all he would do is show you all 32 of his teeth. All the time."

Throughout the afternoon, fans and friends lined up outside Friendship Church for the viewing of the basketball great.

"We love him," Tulsa resident Gerald Hicks said. "We love him. He was one of ours."

Tisdale is being remembered as a man who loved his family, friends, the community and God.

"I can only imagine how your worship is right now," Mason said. "I can only imagine that you're standing before the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords."

"All that he did to advance the kingdom, whether it be jazz music or Christian music, or that beautiful smile, or that bear hug," Robinson said. "Nobody could hug you like Wayman."

Tisdale is remembered most for his special way of making others around him feel so special. His funeral will be Thursday morning at the BOK Center. It's open to the public.

The doors open at 8, with Tisdale's band playing at 10:30, and the service beginning at 11.

A horse-drawn carriage will take Tisdale's body from the funeral home to the service. It will start at Peoria Avenue and go west on Pine Street, then turn south on Denver Avenue to the BOK Center.

Downtown parking map released by the BOK Center. is planning to live stream the service.

Afterward, there will be a funeral procession from the BOK Center to the Memorial Park Cemetery at 51st Street and Memorial Drive. A private service for the family will be at the cemetery.

5/18/2009 Related story: Wayman Tisdale's Brother On Family's Loss

On Thursday evening, the Wayman Tisdale Benefit Concert hosted by Arthur Thompson will be at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. The jam session-style event will feature various musical artists from around the country.

The concert will be at the Jazz Depot at 111 E. First St. from 7 to 10 p.m. There will be a $10 entry fee with all proceeds going to the Wayman Tisdale Foundation.

Meanwhile, two digital billboards around Tulsa are honoring Tisdale. One reads "23 Proud," referring to Tisdale's number when he played basketball at OU. The signs will run through Wednesday night.