I came to know Lillian because my sister Elizabeth married her son Chris. What comes to mind immediately when I think abut Lillian/Mamee is her smile. I'm sure that she didn't ALWAYS have a smile gracing her face when I was with her, but that's the impression that I have.
Graciousness is the second thing that comes to mind when I think of Lillian. She always was gracious, whether the occasion was hosting dinner for myself and others at her and Philip's home, or interacting - along with Philip/Gash - with her/their St. Louis grandchildren - Sarah, Claire, and Matthew - at Chris and Elizabeth's homes.
I especially remember the dinner that Lillian prepared for us probably 15 years ago - there were so many courses, and everything was so visually pleasing, that I wondered how Lillian could have prepared everything herself, but she did! I always enjoyed hearing about the period of time when Lillian and Philip, and their 2 sons, lived in West Africa when Philip was with the State Department.
There is one more comment about Lillian that I must make. She was a very, very strong person/woman, just as my own mother was. The last time that I saw Lillian was on a visit to St. Louis with my own mother in 2009. I remember with much fondness observing my mother and Lillian chatting with each other and comparing notes, if I remember correctly, about their husbands' participation in the military. They were both smiling and clearly genuinely enjoying each other's company.
It so happens that my mother died just 1 month after Lillian. I am fortunate to have the above lovely memory of both of them, smiling, gracious, and strong!
Chris and Steve, I'll make a donation today to Doctors Without Borders in memory of your mom. I hope this is OK with both of you and I hope it would be OK with your mom. I think this charitable organization probably has a greater need for funds right now than the American Heart Association. Please know that you and your families continue to be in my thoughts. And I wish that MY memory was better, so I could include other remembrances.
Since Elizabeth Allen (married to Lillian's younger son Chris Allen) and I are close sisters, we have raised our children together even those many miles distance us. Over a decade ago, Lillian became a grandmother ("Mamee") to our three children; I cherished how she was a strong matriarch who proudly raised two fine men, Uncle Chris and Uncle Steve. I fondly appreciate the traditions we created with Mamee over the years, including our after Christmas visits, New Year's Eve celebrations and annual summer vacations in St. Louis.
Our visits together in St. Louis were very nice. While she still entertained in her home, she set a beautiful table with silver and china and was a gracious hostess. When Elizabeth prepared one of her incredible feasts, Mamee ALWAYS arrived dressed elegantly with coifed hair, make up and jewelry. I recall many occasions where Mamee would marvel at technology and often started lively conversation with, "Did you know Joan that...." She was an engaging guest! She always kept me updated (with great pride) on her Colorado grandchildren - Leslie's rising management career and Andrew Allen's keen programming/technology skills. I always enjoyed hearing her recount the day she and Gash scurried between Harvard's Business School and
Law School graduations; they both were proud of their sons' achievements in life and academics, but never gloated.
Mamee's Christmas List always included our three children, Andrew, Logan and Audrey; one year she gave five year old Audrey a little rag dog with "Audrey" monogrammed on the dress.
As Elizabeth prepared one of her amazing dinners, I would attempt to organize Piano & Guitar Recitals before dinner at the Allen's Salem Estates and Country Club Drive homes. Performers included her grandchildren (Sarah, Claire & Matthew) as well as Andrew and Audrey Koltz. Mamee showed pride in their performances and also loved when Steve and Chris played with Liberace-like talents. She loved petting Angel, the Allen's poodle, and asking the children questions when we herded them into the living room.
One summer, Mamee expressed great compassion and caring when I arrived in St. Louis with a broken wrist with nerve damage issues. Her own health was very challenging at the time but she was VERY kind to me during that extended July 4th trip to St. Louis. (Elizabeth and Chris were amazing!)
I know Mamee's spirit will be present as our two families gather again at Macaroni Grill for the annual New Year's dinner. We'll reserve your favorite ten-top round table, Mamee.
May you rest in peace, reunited with Gash/Philip in heaven.
With God's grace, we pray your sons and their families take comfort knowing you lead a full life.
Love, Joan and family
Auntie Lil - You will always be remembered and hold a special place in my heart! I am grateful that you were able to meet my wife and kids recently, and it was a great pleasure visiting with you again in San Antonio. You will be missed, but won't be forgotten.
Much Love - Travis, Stephanie, Harper & Elliott Wagner, San Antonio, TX
Auntie Lil and Uncle Phil were such a great part of my life in Falls Church area and later in San Antonio. My two sons remember them as "stand in god parents" and were such a help with them when they were little. They will always be remembered as special family members. My heart goes out to you Steve and Chris and know you will miss her !!!
Cathy Evans Geib
Dear Chris, Elizabeth, Sarah, Claire, and Matthew,
I am sorry for your loss and the grief you are experiencing. I pray that you find comfort in reflecting upon the memories created by the vibrant long life Mamee lived with so much spirit.
With much love,