Obituary: Gordon Lilly |

Obituary: Gordon Lilly

Gordon Lilly

Gordon Lilly died April 1, 2019, in Virginia Beach,Virginia, at the age of 91. He was born in Wimbledon, England, the son of Norman Lilly and Kathleen Lilly. As a child, he was a chorister at Oxford Cathedral and then became a choral scholar at St.John’s School Leatherhead where he continued his singing career and won a choral scholarship to Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University. However, he chose to take a State Scholarship to Manchester University instead. Most of his life he kept his remarkably beautiful baritone voice and always his great love of music. He studied metallurgy at Manchester, graduating with an honors degree in metallurgical engineering. After three years of working in metallurgical research in England and Scotland, he emigrated to Canada and a few years later to the USA. He lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he continued to do research in the steel industry. He acquired two master’s degrees in engineering and mathematics, then changed careers to computing, developing successful software and managing computer installations and finally worked as a systems engineering contractor for the federal government.

Shortly after moving to Pittsburgh, he married Barbara Greenfeld of New York City. Their daughter Elizabeth Lilly was born in 1964. He later married Jean Ruffin of Washington, D.C.

He became a lifelong outdoorsman, engaging in hiking, rock climbing, skiing, sailing and scuba diving. As a young man he made several well-recorded first ascents in the Cornish Sea Cliffs. He served the National Ski Patrol in Colorado as a volunteer for 25 years. In his retirement he completed a 300-mile trek in Nepal, acted as a ski guide for many years and was a full time ski instructor for two seasons at the Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado. He was certified as a Master Diver at the age of 76. Also in his retirement he obtained an Associate of Arts Degree majoring in Spanish and completed total immersion language courses in Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile and Ecuador. (Gordon and his wife Jean were long time resident of the Summit County).

He was a supportive father and brother and loving husband and a loyal and devoted friend to many. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends who enjoyed his enthusiasm, excellent mind and wit (he loved to tell stories and jokes), and perhaps even his strong opinions which he fiercely defended. He believed in being fully himself. However, underneath, he was truly kind-hearted and, as many have said, he was always so interesting.

He was predeceased by his brother Keith Lilly. He is survived by his second wife Jean Ruffin Lilly, his daughter Elizabeth Lilly, his sister Anne Fleeman, and many devoted nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to: Colorado Trail Foundation, 710 10thSt., Room 210, Golden, CO 80401; Ocean Park Volunteer Rescue Squad; Wilderness Society; Union of Concerned Scientists; Population Connection.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User