William Ernest Leslie "Les" Lillis, 91, passed away peacefully at his Silver Bay home April 8, 2010. He was surrounded by his devoted wife, Lila, and family.
Les was born to Earnest and Ethel (Babcock) Lillis Oct. 23, 1918, on Maytag Island at Dead Lake in Ottertail County. Les began farming until he was called to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II, from March 1942 until his honorable discharge in December of 1945. Sergeant Lillis was awarded the Purple Heart, four stars on the European Theatre Ribbon, and sharpshooter medals among others.
He married Lila Whitney Oct. 23, 1949. Les earned his electrical degree at the State School of Science in Wapehton, N.D. In 1956 he began working at Reserve Mining as an electrician.
His first priority was providing and caring for his wife and six children. Upon retirement, in 1979, they purchased land near the Silver Bay airport and built a hobby farm. Les enjoyed camping, hunting and fishing with his family and was a skilled bowler and trap shooter. He was active as a Boy Scouts leader and Silver/Beaver Rifle and Pistol Club member. He was a member of American Legion Post 109 and United Protestant Church and a life member of VFW Post 6204 and the NRA.
Les was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Lester, Chester and Horace; sisters Lillian, Hazel, Clarice and Mildred. Les is survived by his wife of 61 years, Lila; sister, Violet Robinson of Chisholm; sons, Randall Lillis, Rex (Jan) Lillis, daughters Roxanne Lillis, Gwynne Ness, Kyla (Kent) Hostetler all of Silver Bay and Tamera (Leroy) Moe of Two Harbors; grandchildren Noel Lillis, Amber (Michael) Skinner, Robert (Sonya) Lillis, Jessica (Nick) Bockovich, Mellissa Clark, Miranda (Zeke) Gavol, Adelia (Buddy) Kindstrand, Lindsay Ness, Mitchell Ness, Curtis, Greg and Kelsey Moe, Candice and Kristy Hostetler; great grandchildren Kenzi, Phoenix, Pierce, Danielle, Brooke, Devon, Topanga, Savannah, Kaellum, Dyllan, Robert, Ronan, Teal'c, Marco, KaDreon, Delilah, Gustaf, Carson, Ezra, Corinthian, and Ellaxandra; Goddaughter Kathy Lynn Gillespie, and numerous cherished nephews, nieces and "adopted" family.
A memorial service begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at United Protestant Church in Silver Bay with an informal gathering an hour prior. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to United Protestant Church,17 Horn Blvd., Silver Bay, MN 55614.