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Lila Anderson


1926 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Lila Anderson Obituary
Lila B. Anderson

1926 - 2016 PITTSFIELD Lila B. Anderson, 89, of Pittsfield, MA, passed away peacefully on June 26, 2016. Born in Irvington, New Jersey on November 30, 1926 she was the daughter of the late Cecil Burpee and Marion (Laraby) Wilcox. Her childhood years were spent in New Jersey. She enjoyed her summers in upstate New York, where she had fond memories of the family camp near Elizabethtown in the Adirondacks. Lila graduated from Union High School in Union, N.J. in 1945, then went on to earn her undergraduate degree in Physical Education at Montclair State College in New Jersey in 1949. Her first job was as a teacher of Special Education at Peck School in Morristown, NJ, then as a teacher of Physical Education and Anatomy at Greenbrier Junior College in Greenbrier, WV. On June 23,rd 1951 Lila married her childhood sweetheart, William S. Anderson, Jr. in Elizabethtown, NY. They were devoted to each other for 63 years. When Lila became a mother, she chose to stay home with her young children: first in Ithaca, N.Y. where her son Keith was born, then in Rock Hill, S.C where Karen was born, and then in Alfred, N.Y. when Jill was born. She held especially fond memories of her time in Alfred, where the young family settled for 6 years. In 1962, the family relocated to Williamstown, MA, where they resided for 52 years. Lila taught Physical Education at Williamstown Elementary School from 1963-1968. The creativity, inclusivity, and respect she brought into her classroom made her an exceptional teacher. She was gifted in her ability to empower children to shine, especially her most vulnerable students. She went on to earn her certification as an instructor of Perceptually Handicapped Children. She taught a course in Visual-Motor Perceptual Development at North Adams State College, became a consultant on learning disabilities for many local school districts, and developed one of the first kindergarten screening programs for learning disabilities. In 1973, with a Title 1 ESEA grant, she created a model early intervention program for high-risk 4 and 5 year-old children that would later be widely adopted as a compulsory pre-K program. Lila was a devoted wife and mother and enjoyed spending time with her family. She never missed a school event and was able to participate in every annual family camping trip right up to the final year. She also enjoyed spending time in nature, cooking, and handicrafts (including needlework crafts and stained glass). She will always be remembered for her legendary strawberry rhubarb pie. Lila loved being around people and was known for her kindness and care for others. She was a volunteer for the Hospice of Northern Berkshire, North Adams Regional Hospital, the Women's Exchange and as a driver for cancer patients for the American Cancer Society. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Williamstown Daycare Center. She was passionate about animals and was a loyal supporter of several animal welfare associations including the Humane Society of the United States and the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Later in life, one of Lila's joys was meeting her half brother Tom and her sister Ruth. Lila is survived by her children, Keith Anderson and his wife, Kimberly, of Schaghticoke NY; Karen Friedeborn and her husband, John, of Ithaca, NY; and Jill Lloyd and her husband, Todd, of Hartland, Vt.; her brother Tom Burpee; 10 nieces and nephews; 9 grandchildren; and 2 great grand children. She is also survived by her brother-in-law Douglas C. Anderson and John Chott; niece and nephew Lynne Comley and William Comley. She was predeceased by her parents, her husband William S. Anderson, Jr., her brother Richard Burpee and sister Ruth (Burpee) Cooper. There will be a private family service. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to HospiceCare in the Berkshires or the Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on June 29, 2016
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