Gary Thomas Lilly loved God, his family & friends, and living life to the fullest. He loved country music, suspenders, playing cards, doing the crossword in red pen, painting, westerns and fishing. He was a proud card-carrying member of the Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles. And he was endlessly proud of his beautiful bride, fantastic children and talented grandchildren. Gary graduated from West Virginia Tech in 1968 earning a degree in civil engineering. Gary was known to start sentences with â€œIâ€™m just a hillbilly from West Virginia butâ€¦â€ and how far from the truth. Among many recognitions, he was in Whoâ€™s Who for Engineering and his team won an OPAL Award for Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement in 2006 for one of his dam jobs. There wasnâ€™t a puzzle he couldnâ€™t solve. He was a respected engineer not only for his talent and brilliance, but also because he was honest and genuine. It was not unusual that he spent ten hours in the office to only bill nine hours and 25 minutes when he had one too many coffee breaks that day. By the time he finally retired at 69 years old, he had humbly become a pillar of the engineering community. He adored his craft, but it was only what he did. The most important part of his life and what brought Gary the most joy was his family. There arenâ€™t many families that can be together, do absolutely nothing and truly enjoy it. His family was one of these, and he was at the center of it all. His big, loving hands were always telling a great story, giving warm hugs and wiping tears from laughing until he cried. Picasso is attributed for saying that The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away. Gary loved that quote and spent a lot of time pondering his own gift to the world. In the end, he believed his gift was his children. His children believe his gift is him. Gary, deeply loved by so many, will be missed for his incredible spirit, sharp mind and lively personality. Objective, honest and kind, he always knew the right thing to say to put you at ease or on the right course. These same attributes led him to start a Habitat for Humanity chapter in Beckley, WV and to become everyoneâ€™s favorite Sunday School teacher. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Pamela, three children, Terry Bradley (Jim), Jay Lilly (Buffie) and Elizabeth Meagher (Kevin) and five grandchildren, Merideth Grace, Wyatt James, Lilly Jane, Belle Ellene and Jude Thomas. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, George and Lillye Lilly, some wonderful friends and a couple of really great family dogs. Reverend Frank Bourner is presiding over a private celebration service on Saturday, April 9, 2016 in Charleston, South Carolina. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the American Cancer Society and to believe in miracles, laugh until you cry, relax with a great book, consider others before yourself and to find joy in simple things.
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Private family scattering at sea.