IN MEMORIAM DON LILLIBRIDGE George Donald Lillibridge died of heart failure on December 21, 2012. Born on July 20, 1921, he was the son of Charles Bradley and Neva Claire (Soule) Lillibridge of Mitchell, South Dakota. He and later Senator, George McGovern became good friends and competitors in their high school debates. Close upon graduation from the University of South Dakota, he was called up for service in World War II. Soon after he married his college sweetheart, Florence Belson, he left for the Pacific Front as a Marine lieutenant. The lone surviving officer of his battalion in the Battle of Tarawa, he went on to receive wounds in the Battle of Saipan that troubled him throughout his life. While under treatment at a Hawaii hospital, President Franklin Roosevelt and Admiral Nimitz, by a random selection, visited his hospital room. In London, while a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, he exchanged pleasantries with King George V after the victory parade of British Empire troops. Following the War, Don completed his doctorate and in 1952, left his position at New York University, Albany to join the history department at Chico State. In 1972, he was selected as the CSU Trustees' Outstanding Professor. Until his retirement in 1981, he taught American history and he was a vigorous chair of his department through contentious times. Lillibridge, a gifted writer, authored well-regarded books and essays on academic and popular subjects. He offered his poems as gifts to those he loved, but he sometimes presented hilarious renditions of them at gatherings of friends who also appreciated his martinis and manhattans. A sought-after public speaker on many subjects, he became an early opponent of the Vietnam War, which he believed, by contrast to World War II, did not meet the standard of necessity. He spoke widely against the new war in his unsuccessful campaign for Congress. In 1999, after Flo's death ended 56 years of marriage, Don married his former colleague, Michele Shover. Don and Flo's children are Michael Lillibridge, Linda Lillibridge (Craig Bishop), Jennifer Lillibridge and Catherine Lillibridge (David York). His grandchildren are Jason (Wendy) Yakich, Julie (Michael) Sawley, Rose (Chris) Conley, Marijeanne (Adam) Birchard, and Nichole (Ella) Lillibridge. Grandchildren in Florida are Jill (John) Heilman, Matthew (Lisa) Lillibridge and Tyler (Nancy) Lillibridge. He leaves 17 great-grandchildren. A Memorial Mass will take place at Our Divine Savior Church, 566 East Lassen Avenue at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. A reception at the church willl follow.
Published in Chico Enterprise-Record from Dec. 30, 2012 to Jan. 1, 2013