Cover photo for Frances Josephine Lillig's Obituary
Frances Josephine Lillig Profile Photo
1934 Frances 2021

Frances Josephine Lillig

May 3, 1934 — July 9, 2021

Frances Josephine (Fisher) Lillig passed away into the arms of our Lord on Friday, July 9, 2021, surrounded by her loving family. She was greeted in Heaven by her husband, Paul Anthony Lillig, who, as fate would have it, passed away just six short days before her. The two celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary earlier this year.
Frances was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. She was one of ten children, and -- as she would tell you -- was her mothers favorite daughter. A child of the Great Depression, she and her siblings spent summers sleeping together on the porch of their home at 5601 Forest, which had no air conditioning. Frances cultivated many hobbies as a young child, but showed a particular interest in singing. She had a beautiful voice and loved to sing, entertaining guests at clubs around the Kansas City area and singing in the choir of her parishes for as long as anyone can remember.
In 1954, at the age of 20, Frances met Paul at a New Years Eve party. They would spend every new year together after that. Frances and Paul married on May 21, 1955. Together, they raised six children: Mig, Paul, Jeanne, Tony, Mary Ann, and Lisa. Frances was well-suited for managing such a large and bustling household. She was a lover of tradition, and a strict enforcer of rules -- most of which she maintained through her last days. Prayer before meals, no hats in the house, a kiss on the cheek when entering her home, eating was only permitted in the kitchen or dining room, "a guest of a guest should not bring a guest," and never too much makeup for the girls, of course.
For decades, her Sundays were for church and hosting a pancake breakfast, just as her mother had done. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren will fondly remember weekly gatherings perched on wooden stools at Grandma Frances semi-circle-shaped kitchen island, Frances asking "how many do you want today?" If you promised to finish your plate, you could have the "real" maple syrup, straight from Vermont. But in true Frances fashion, diners were only permitted two pieces of bacon, max.
Another beloved tradition, and perhaps Frances favorite day of the year, was St. Patricks Day. Every year on March 17, at least 200 of Frances closest friends and family would gather at her Ward Parkway home for a 7:30 a.m. Irish breakfast, chased with shots of Jameson. It was a constant for guests -- a time and place they could count on seeing one another, even if they did not meet again until the following St. Pats Day. Frances could be found in the kitchen fixing the food, and later in her signature corner chair. She greeted each guest with her big smile and that obligatory kiss on the cheek.
Frances was the quintessential "collector." This habit was inspired in part by her store, "The Sculpture Gallery," which she owned and operated for years with her eldest daughter, Mig. Whether it was children, friends, antiques, jewelry, hats, sweets, scotch, or champagne, she had refined taste and enjoyed everything in abundance. After her children left the nest, she filled her home with antiques that caught her eye, and she knew the story behind each one. Crystal, vases, linens, cutlery, figurines, rugs, dolls, paintings, clocks, desks, pitchers, tea sets -- you name it. Frances boasted an impressive assortment of a little bit of everything beautiful.
Her bedroom was adorned by a bountiful collection of ladies hats. Hats in every color, pattern, shape, and style overflowed on top of her large wooden dresser drawer. Knowing how proud Frances was of her collection, grandchildren would often feign interest in the hats only to ask for a dime to use the gumball machine -- which was also conveniently located in her bedroom. It was an unspoken arrangement that left everyone smiling.
For any occasion and for each holiday, Frances would thoughtfully select a particular piece of jewelry from her drawer, many of which she had actually made herself. She could often be seen holding court, surrounded by her daughters and granddaughters, describing the gemstone and explaining where shed procured it from.
Much to the delight of her friends and family, Frances home was always stocked with her indulgences of choice: sweets, scotch, and champagne. Crystal dishes filled with candy could always be found around her house, and chocolate almond fudge ice cream was a staple in her freezer. Annually on Christmas Eve, she enjoyed a glass of Johnnie Walker Blue Label on the rocks. Baby showers, holidays, and occasionally just ordinary nights were celebrated with a glass of something bubbly -- and there was plenty to go around.
But as much as she loved to collect, Frances equally delighted in giving. Harkening back to her love of singing and all things entertainment, she was an avid supporter of the arts and enjoyed many nights with friends at the ballet, opera, and symphony. She also gave generously to many charities, including Little Sisters of the Poor, First Hand Foundation, and the American Royal, just to name a few.
Of equal importance, however, are the priceless memories, lessons, and traditions she gave her family and friends, which will carry on for generations to come. There is no doubt that Frances friends and family will gather next St. Patricks Day to take Jameson shots in her honor. We will miss her every day, and will fondly think of her whenever we see something beautiful, or enjoy a fine glass of champagne.
Frances was preceded in death by her husband, Paul Lillig; her parents, Margaret "Marge" Campbell and William Fisher; her sisters, Miggie Degan, Anna Mae Burns, Rita Fuller, Helen McGrath, Jeanne Cassidy, and Terese Macdonald; her brothers, Tom Fisher, and Bill Fisher; her daughter, Jeanne Lillig-Patterson, and son-in-law, Neal Patterson; and daughter-in-law Sherrie Hanf Lillig. She leaves behind her children, Margaret "Mig" Lillig (Kevin) Amey, Paul Lillig, Anthony "Tony" Lillig (Holly), Mary Ann Lillig, Lisa Lillig; and her grandchildren, Luke, Pat, Nick, Clare, Molly, Wesley, Frank, Clay, Lindsey, Cortney, Will, Shadow, Charleah, Amanda, Nathan, Collin, Teresa, and Mathew, as well as fourteen great-grandchildren.
The family is especially grateful for Frances caregiving team over the past several years. To those who helped her enjoy her final years, thank you.
Happily, Paul and Frances will be remembered together. A Serra rosary for the couple will be prayed at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday, July 13th, followed by visitation at 10:00 a.m. at Visitation Catholic Church, 5141 Main St, Kansas City, Missouri. A Mass of Christian burial will follow at 11:00 a.m. Memorial donations can be made to Little Sisters of the Poor. Please

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Tuesday, July 13, 2021 9:30 AM
Visitation Church 5141 Main Street Kansas City, Missouri 64113
Tuesday, July 13, 2021 10:00 AM
Visitation Church 5141 Main Street Kansas City, Missouri 64113
Mass of Christian Burial
Tuesday, July 13, 2021 11:00 AM
Visitation Church 5141 Main Street Kansas City, Missouri 64113

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