Oscar William ‘Bill’ Lilja

| December 3, 2015

Bill Lilja PictureOscar William “Bill” Lilja, World War II Navy veteran, died 1 December 2015 at his home in Coshocton, OH surrounded by family. He was 94 years, 2 months, and 9 days of age. Bill was born 22 September 1921 in Coshocton, OH, to Oscar F. Lilja, who immigrated to the U.S. in 1906, and Mary Elizabeth Johnson Fallon Lilja.

USFlagSunlightHC1311_X_300_C_YMr. Lilja was raised in Coshocton, OH, and graduated from Sacred Heart High School where he lettered in basketball and courted the love of his life, Mary Marjorie Bretzius.

Shortly after graduation, Bill enlisted in the Navy as part of a mass induction of 4,000 men on 4 July 1942 at Lake Front Stadium in Cleveland. He completed basic training at Great Lakes and was assigned to the Light Cruiser, USS Marblehead, CL-12. Bill’s wartime duties included duty off the coast of South America, Northern Ireland, and in the Mediterranean to participate in the bombarding of Southern France. Bill was discharged in 1945 after serving (to quote Bill) “three years, three months and one day.”

Bill and Marj were engaged in July 1942 while he was still in training in Illinois and were married 10 September 1943 in Miami, FL, while the USS Marblehead was in port.

After his discharge, Bill went to work for Clow Company. He then formed Fallon & Lilja, pattern makers with his brother, Raymond. He later began a career with Penn-Michigan in West Lafayette as purchasing agent and retired 22 years later as president. Bill then devoted his retirement years to his two loves, Marj and working with wood.

Bill was a well-respected and highly skilled master craftsman, pattern maker, and cabinetmaker. Treasured evidence of his handiwork can be seen in the homes of everyone in the family.

Prior to his retirement, Bill discovered that his father, Oscar Lilja, had left a twin brother, Gustaf, in their ancestral home of Liljadahl, Sweden, and through Marj’s efforts located his first cousin, Henry Lilja. This led to twenty years’ worth of trans-Atlantic visitations by long lost cousins that continues still.

Bill and Marj celebrated their 71st wedding anniversary on 10 September 2014.

Bill is survived by three daughters, Judith L. Lilja Hill (James Russell), of Delaware, OH, Linda Lilja Menda (Joseph) of Pensacola, FL, and Tina Lilja Jacobson of Worthington, OH; six grandchildren, James T. Hill (Heather), Mollie Hill Turner (Kevin), Gregory E. Mihaly (Brandy), Geoffrey E. Mihaly, Scott A. Williams (Megan), and Lori A. Jacobson; and by seven great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife Marj, his parents, and brothers, John “Jack” Fallon, James Fallon, George Fallon, Raymond Fallon, and sister, Esther Fallon Alverson.

Friends may call at The Miller Funeral Home, 639 Main St., Coshocton on Sunday December 6, 2015 from 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 805 Main St., Coshocton on Monday at 10:30 AM with Father Victor Wesolowski officiating. Interment will follow in South Lawn Cemetery where Coshocton County Veterans Honor Guard will perform military honors. Memorial contributions may be directed to Health Services of Coshocton County “Hospice” and/or Sacred Heart School, envelopes will be available at the funeral home. An online memorial is located at www.themillerfuneralhome.com.


Category: Obituaries

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