Lillian Holasek Wilson was born May 2, 1920 the seventh child of Josef and Terezie Vanek Holasek.  She of course was a first generation American from immigrants from Bohemia and Moravia.  My uncle George was closest to her in age and her survival buddy.  My father was her eldest brother.

Uncle George and Aunt Lil would walk together to Sunday School at Broadway United Methodist Church.  He would always tell her that she was standing too straight and to relax and I always kidded my aunt that her brother made her self-conscious.

  Aunt Lil and Uncle George are seated on the right of the family picture.

Growing up during the depression was hard, and the family had a grocery store including a butcher shop.  Everyone had to work, and Aunt Lil’s job was cleaning the meat block every day starting when she was 10.  This is the first lesson she passed on to me.  Work hard and do a good job in whatever you do.

My grandfather bought a farm during the depression to give his family  something to do besides the grocery store.  Aunt Lil was sent out there in the summers with her sister Josephine and brother Joseph to run that farm.  That started a life long love of growing things for the family.

My Aunt Lil was a “Rosy the Riveter” but of paint.  She took a man’s job at Sherwin Williams Paint factory and was featured in the paper several times for this job.  

Sherwin Williams with Lillian Wilson

That was an important milestone in her life, because a manager, John Foster Wilson  saw her on the step of Sherwin Williams and told a friend, “I’m going to marry that woman.”  He used a great pick up line for the time.  He said to her, “I see you take the bus.  If you give me your gas rationing coupons, I’ll give you a ride.”  That was the start of a beautiful courtship and almost 30 year marriage.  I have many wonderful memories of Uncle Jack Serenading my Aunt Lil at family picnics.

Lillian and Jack Wilson Wed August 23, 1945

The love of their life was born in October 1946, Carol Jean Wilson.  And they were as devoted to her as she was to them for all of my Uncle Jack and Aunt Lil’s life.

Carol Wilson with Mom and Dad

However, I always lauded over my cousin that she was NOT my Aunt’s first baby–I was.  When my mother died at 8 weeks, Uncle Jack and Aunt Lil took my dad and me into their home and Aunt Lil cared for me as her own.  How many people are willing to care for a newborn when 3 months pregnant herself?  This is another lesson my Aunt taught me.  Do what you can to help when you love someone no matter how difficult.

Aunt Lil with Marilyn as infant
After Carol was born, my dad insisted we move to my other aunts and uncles’ home, but that bond that was formed between Aunt Lil and myself lasted a lifetime.   And for many years we were Aunt Lil’s girls.  I was often jealous of Carol’s beautiful winglets, but sometime I would get them too.  This picture my dad carried in his wallet to the day he died.

Carol and Marilyn–Lillian’s Girls

The biggest life lesson that has carried Carol and I through our entire life was Family Is Everything.  This has been Carol’s and my mantra all our lives.

In those first nine years of my life we had so many joyous times together.  Friday night get togethers, Sunday picnics, and so many wonderful family celebrations.

Aunt Lil’s life was full with what she enjoyed doing the most.  She loved her role as wife and mother,  homemaking (and her house was always impeccable) Her baking and cooking was superb, and her gardens were beautiful.  The whole family started traveling in 1952 and never stopped.

When Uncle Jack became ill she cared for him as a nurse until he died.

Then Carol saw to it that Aunt Lil had a bigger house to keep, larger gardens that she planted and designed at age 65.  An added sunroom gave Aunt Lil a lot of pleasure.  Everything Carol did for her was so appreciated, but the biggest thing Carol did was care for her in her declining years.  My God did she care for her.  My aunt had some serious medical conditions, breast cancer, triple bypass, colon cancer, broken hip, a pace maker and her loss of mobility.  Carol always joked to me “you are the nurse; I am the business person.”  But Carol became one of the finest nurses I have ever known.

Through all of the illnesses my aunt taught me the biggest lesson of all:  How to be a survivor.  She had such determination, courage, and fortitude, and that would come into play in my own life with a diagnosis of breast cancer myself in 1996.

But going back to happier memories, there were my Aunt’s love of pets.  Yet another life lesson.  Aunt Lil and Carol had a series of dogs that were treated as children.  Mickey, Ricky, Tempy, and Katie all lived wonderful lives.  I wrote a story about Ricky because he had separation anxiety and was always taken to my aunts and uncles’ house for dog sitting so he wouldn’t cry into his chair.  The moral of that pet parable was “If you cry to the right person, you  won’t drown in your tears.”

Aunt Lil with Ricky and Tempy

Aunt Lil and Carol with Katie

Aunt Lil had a parakeet, Pete, that she taught to speak many words and sentences.  His greatest was “Happy Holidays Holasek Family.”  Now wouldn’t that have been a hit on utube?

Going back to her love of family, my Aunt Lil was there for every major event of my life.  She sat with me when the family went to my mother’s funeral.  She stayed with my son, when I went to my father’s funeral.  She visited several times a year in Fredericksburg and with another aunt watched over our children when we went on medical meetings.  My husband Stacy adored her.  She waited on him and doted on him.  When he had a major operation she arrived to take care of the home for weeks until he recovered.  I forgot to say this in the original eulogy, but Stacy and I picked August 23 to marry in honor of Aunt Lil and Uncle Jack.

Carol, Aunt Lil, Stacy and I went on many cruises together after Stacy’s retirement.  We truly enjoyed each other’s company

But Carol saw to it Aunt Lil had many other wonderful trips.  She went to Hawaii, and the Canadian Rockies including the Bug a Boo Mountains in her 80’s, and trips to Oglebay.

Aunt Lil had many friends in her life that are gone now,  But through Carol many friends remain.  The closest are Wanda and Judy.  They cared for Aunt Lil as their own family and of all the many things I will miss about my Aunt is their calling her Mrs. Wilson.

Carol, Wanda, Judy, Aunt Lil, Stacy & myself on cruise

Of course she will be missed dearly by her daughter Carol

and brother George.

Myself and nephews Fred and my brother Jonathan.  My children William and Holly viewed her as almost a grandmother with all the time she spent with them.

Fred, Molly, Emily, Josephine and Phoebe loved her dearly

Picture at Holly’s wedding with Fred, Cheryl, Aunt Lil, Holly, Jeff, Stacy Jonathan and William.  In front Phoebe and Josephine and Leslie Holasek.

Jonathan wrote “Aunt Lil I remember always looking forward to visiting your house with all its fun places to explore. . . the fish pond, a beautiful garden, a friendly dog to play with.  But it was always especially fun because you were a bundle of energy, with some project to create or game to play–like my family’s favorite, toe coconut cake Easter bunny.  I’m so glad that our girls, Josephine and Phoebe, could have some of those same great experiences in your garden as I had.  Memories that we’ll always treasure as we smile when we think of you.”

Also Aunt Lil will be missed by her 13 great great nieces and nephews.

But can you imagine heaven right now?  Uncle Jack serenading her again with “Let Me Call You Sweetheart, “”Down by the Old Mill Stream”, and “Down by the Old Cherry Orchard.”

The Holasek family is smiling and welcoming her:  Her mother and father, my dad, Bill, sisters Josephine, Theresa, baby Florence and her brothers Fred, Joe, and Ed and her nephew Don.  My husband Stacy also. And I know that my mother, Mildred, finally had a chance to thank Aunt Lil for taking care of her baby so many years ago.

Unfortunately, we are trying to celebrate her transition to a better place.  We know she is in heaven as promised.  And the family wants to thank the ministers of Strongsville United Methodist Church for giving Aunt Lil a new church home in the last two weeks of her life.  But our loss is great.  Frankly this loss we will never get over.  But we are confident we will see each other again because of God’s promises.  Aunt Lil died with her beloved daughter Carol, and myself at her side.  She died on Thanksgiving Day, one of her favorite holidays.  

Lillian Holasek Wilson–wife, mother, homemaker extraordinaire, gardener, pet parent and survivor.  The mould was broken with you.

We love you and miss you till we meet again.  Ses Bohem (Bohemian for Be with God.)

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