Noreen Lilja

Noreen J Lilja

Sunday, May 31st, 2020
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Noreen Lilja of Natick, MA, passed away peacefully at MetroWest Medical Center, Framingham, MA, on Sunday, May 31, 2020 at the age of 70 after a strong and graceful 7-year battle with ovarian cancer.

Noreen was born to Henry A. and Winifred E. (Clark) Jerzylo of Millis, MA. She was a member of Millis High School Class of 1968 and graduated with honors as both a varsity cheerleader co-captain and the class secretary. She received a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in speech pathology from The University of Rhode Island.

She worked as a speech and language pathologist for over 30 years in the Wrentham and Norfolk public schools. Upon her retirement in 2014, she was awarded the “Special Education Teacher of the Year Award” from the Norfolk County Teachers’ Association.

In 1973 she married George “Lucky” Lilja at the St. Thomas Church in Millis, MA. Following graduate school the couple resided in Natick, MA for over 45 years raising a family. They enjoyed various styles of dancing as members of The Boston Society of Ballroom Dancers, The Silver Grays Dance Club, and The Fairs n’ Squares. Their evenings were often spent over a friendly game of cribbage. During retirement they escaped the New England cold to spend winters in Florida with her brother and sister-in-law.

Noreen will be remembered for her positive demeanor and ability to offer a kind word in any situation. She cherished a good book and frequently caught the latest matinees at the local movie theater. She remained physically fit her entire life by walking daily, riding her bike, and stretching in the mornings. Her Wednesdays were often spent on the golf course with her friends in the Ladies Golf League. Noreen took particular pride in her role as “Grami”. She could always be counted on to support her four grandchildren, whether it be on the stage, in school, or at the ball field. She was an active member in both the Sacred Heart Parish, as a Sunday School teacher, and the St. Patrick Parish in Natick, MA.

Noreen was preceded in death by her father, Henry, and her mother, Winifred of Millis, MA. She is survived by her beloved husband, George"Lucky” Lilja of Natick, MA, her son Patrick Lilja of Greensboro, NC, and his wife Hilary and children Finn and Shay, her daughter Pamela Peavey of Portsmouth, NH and her husband Timothy and children James and Luke, her brother James Collins of Englewood, FL and his wife Midge, as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Due to current Covid-19 restrictions burial will be private. A graveside service for immediate family will be held Friday, June 5, 2020 at 11 a.m at the Prospect Hill Cemetery in Millis, MA.

In lieu of flowers charitable donations in her honor can be made to Boston Children’s Hospital.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, June 5th, 2020 | 11:00am
    Friday, June 5th, 2020 11:00am
    Prospect Hill Cemetery
    Auburn Road
    MILLIS, MA 02054
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Interment

    Prospect Hill Cemetery
    Auburn Road
    MILLIS, MA 02054
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Private Condolence

David Sullivan

Posted at 08:25am
Whenever I talked to Noreen at any gathering she always listened and then would eloquently respond in the kindest of ways. She always made you feel that your conversation was important. Today you say goodbye to her. The rest of our lives we will remember her. Lucky, Patrick and Pam my heart is with you today. - David

Phil Sa

Posted at 04:57pm
We are heartbroken to hear of Noreen's passing. We so enjoyed our time dancing together with Lucky and Noreen and will treasure those memories until we can dance with her in heaven.

Phil and Lynn Sa

Glenn Ickler

Posted at 11:16am
Dear Lucky,
I am so sorry for your loss. It was always a delight to dance in a square with you two. Noreen practically floated across the floor. I miss her smile and her yellow rocks. You are, indeed, lucky to have shared your life with such a sweet, gracious partner.
Glenn Ickler

Vivian Teague

Posted at 02:12pm
To the Lilja Family,
I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Noreen. She was a co-worker and friend for many years at the Freeman/Centennial and Freeman/Kennedy School in Norfolk. Noreen was one of the kindest and gentlest souls I have ever known. She always had a smile and kind greeting for everyone she passed. I worked in and out of the classroom with Noreen and I could always depend on her to help a student when needed. She was a devoted therapist and it showed.
I am so glad that she was able to be with her grandchildren these past few years. I remember her excitement when they were first born. We shared many a day talking about our grands. I loved seeing the love on her face in the photos holding and caring for those kids. She was blessed to have them.
I am saddened that we couldn't and can't say a final goodbye. She will be remembered fondly by many. May you rest in peace and live on in eternity.

Holly Bennett

Posted at 12:43pm
To the Lilja and Collin’s Families,
I’m so sorry to hear of Noreen’s passing. My mom (also Winifred) and Noreen’s mom (known as Dibby to all of us kids) were great friends and Millis neighbors. Noreen and my brother Tom were friends growing up. I have pictures of their first days of school together, playing with their first cats and dogs, filling up the backyard swimming pool on a hot July day and playing on the swings.
I last saw Noreen after her retirement. We had a wonderful conversation. Noreen was a kind and gentle soul. Keep your wonderful memories close as they will comfort you through this difficult time. I have you all in my thoughts and prayers.
Holly Bennett Maraggio

Patrick Lilja Posted at 10:20am

And I just came across a photo of them going to senior prom! ❤️

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