Cover photo for Paul Anthony Lillig's Obituary
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1932 Paul 2021

Paul Anthony Lillig

January 31, 1932 — July 3, 2021

Paul Lillig passed away into the arms of our Lord on Saturday, July 3rd, 2021 surrounded by family and loved ones.
Pauls own story was larger than life. Paul was KC born and raised. Born on Strawberry Hill to Paul and Mary Lillig during the heart of the Great Depression. Paul was the oldest son, the second of seven.
Pauls journey began at St. James, then to Maur Hill, Lillis High School, and eventually to Rockhurst College where he studied Theology and Law. Paul started working as soon as he was able. He spent most nights waiting tables at a restaurant called The Green Parrot. Like much of his later career, this job was built on Pauls great passion for people--getting to know them, telling them about something, making them laugh.
Paul loved stories--hearing them, living them, but especially telling them. In fact, even among those that knew him well, many cant agree on which stories of Pauls were real and which were fish tales. Never sure where the truth ended and the story began, you might ask, but he would never tell. Instead, Paul would just wink at you, fold his arms across his belly and chuckle.
Paul worked hard and played hard, even to the point of losing his eye in a friendly game cowboys and Indians outside the family grocery store at age eleven. This was one of the many soon to be embellished stories. After this, his family and friends took to calling him "Patch." From then on, the eye patch became a part of him, a part of his character.
Paul developed a penchant for being in the right place at the right time. He drove both his mother and his sister to the hospital to give birth--stopping to fix his sisters flat tire along the way.
This internal sense of direction lead him to a party on New Years Eve in 1954. It was here that Paul met Frances and when he asked the young woman for her number, she replied "Im a Fisher, Im sure you can find me." Paul found the Fishers, a large, well-known, Irish-Catholic family in town, and asked Frances for their first date.
Paul married Frances Fisher on May 21, 1955. The two recently celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. Together they raised six children, starting in a bungalow house on 52nd & Euclid. First three in one room, then 4, finally 5. When the house became too tight, Paul converted the open attic into one large bedroom. It was the first home remodel, but hardly the last. With #6 on the way, the family moved to 71st Street. The remodel bug kicked in hard. He converted the attached two car garage into a living room and set about building a new garage. It was the envy of the neighborhood. He could be seen most evenings walking up the street, with his tool belt and level, bringing beer and enthusiasm. He added the garage to over a dozen homes on that block.
He got a hot red Volkswagen bug convertible for a family car. It was a dragster, a blast, but hardly a family car. He had to trade to a station wagon since the bug also was "so small you have to go outside to change your mind." He taught himself to whistle in that car because the VW had no radio. From then on, you could hear Paul coming--he was always whistling.
Still, just to be safe, whenever he arrived, he would roll into the driveway honking. Paul would climb out and look at you with a big, disarming smile--so big you would forget to be annoyed, so big that you could only smile too. Hed greet you with a "Hey, good lookin!" or burst into song, "There she is--Miss America." Genuinely happy to be with you--excited just to talk with you.
Paul kept constantly busy. After five, his real life work began--raising a family, helping friends with home repairs, volunteering with faith community, The Serra Club, Conception Seminary, being active member of his parishes. He was passionate about Little Sisters of the Poor, who cared for his mother while at the Little Sisters of the Poor. Paul had infinite side ventures: He opened bars and restaurants with his brothers, bought and sold real estate, owned a newspaper and carpet cleaning company, and even ran for the office of Mayor of Kansas City.
Paul was a consummate salesman. He worked selling paper products at Kimberly Clark. He kept the familys closets overflowing with tissue paper that he bought on his employee discount. He spent many years with Xerox, then moved to Bell and Howell. His biggest sale was to the United States Post Office, developing high-speed mail delivery technology. Perhaps most notably, Paul founded a presort mail company named Docu-Sort, which helped develop and standardize the postal barcode.
After Docu-Sort, Paul retired to the farm, only to discover he had more passions and work to do on this side of life. He tended to the farm and fashioned rocking chairs for all his family and friends, who joked "even though he only had one eye, everything came out level."
He loved his time at the farm with his rescue dogs, Betsy and Blossom, fixed to his side.
Paul and Frances would spend their afternoons holding court and telling stories at R.C.'s or at Jess and Jims over of pickled beets plates and livers and gizzards.
Once a year, the two of them would head south to the tropics. Paul came back just before Easter sporting a deep tan that he paired with a bright white suit, and, on special occasion, a white eye-patch to match.
Wherever he went, Paul brought the party with him. And a briefcase that doubled as a bar. He would set it on the table, unfasten the latches, and pull out the cocktail supplies to start fixing drinks. Dropping in for a quick college visit, Paul waved his grandson over, "Go get my bar out of my car."
Most days, Paul could be found in loud, oversized button ups--one with an American flag print, another with large swaths of bold color. These shirts were worn untucked, hanging down to near his knees--so large you could sail a boat with them, some say. This was how Paul lived his life--out loud--warm, and enthusiastic--comfortable in his own skin. He shared these gifts with others and gave generously of his time. And if, by chance, you were to give Paul a gift, no matter how small or impractical, no matter how tacky or handmade, he would react as if it were the most wonderful present he had ever received. Quite simply, Paul knew how to make everyone feel special and loved.
His was, by any measure, a marvelous adventure. Paul, created stories, not just told them. He lived his life and accomplished many things, but mostly he created a loving family and lived his faith. We are grateful for the stories he left us, grateful for the character he was. All will miss him. He was a great man. A good and faithful servant.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents, Paul and Mary Lillig; his siblings Elizabeth "Betty" Montgomery, Jeanne Haus, Charles "Chuck" Lillig; his daughter Jeanne Lillig-Patterson, and son-in-law Neal Patterson; and daughter-in-law Sherrie Hanf Lillig. He is survived by his wife Frances Lillig; his sisters, Stephanie Breedlove and Dakotah Fitzgerald; his brother, Michael Lillig; his children Margaret "Mig" Lillig Amey (Kevin), Paul Lillig, Anthony "Tony" Lillig (Holly), Mary Ann Lillig, Lisa Lillig; his grandchildren Luke, Pat, Nick, Clare, Molly, Wesley, Frank, Clay, Lindsey, Cortney, Will, Shadow, Charleah, Amanda, Nathan, Collin, Teresa, Mathew, as well as fourteen great-grandchildren.
The family is especially grateful for Pauls adventure (caregiving) team over the past several years, including Raheem Wingate, Melissa Sullivan, Lourdes Fisher, Katie Basey, Brittani Mason, Tosha Smith, and Carmela Young. You made Paul happy.
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.

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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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