WEYBRIDGE – Sadly, James D. Lilly passed away suddenly on May 13, 2022, quickly and peacefully while working in his vegetable garden in the home he and his wife, Connie, built in Weybridge some 50 years ago.
Jim was born March 14, 1931 to Victor and Helen (Daniels) Lilly in Orwell, Vt. His younger sister, Janice Rich, predeceased him in 2020, and his younger brother, Lee, currently lives in Montpellier. Jim is also survived by his sons Courtney (and his wife Carla) and Daniel of Nevada; Kiet Van Nguyen of South Burlington; his daughters Margaret (Peggy) Connor of Middlebury and Daisy Pangalila of Arizona; granddaughters Morgan Leshinsky (and her husband Ross), Molly Connor, Michelle Page (and her husband Matt), Vermont State Representative Karen Dolan (and her husband Jason), and Amanda Lilly; grandson Travis Lilly (and wife Jamie); as well as great-grandchildren Ezra Leshinsky, Chloe and Lilly Dolan, Adam, Kendyl and Bailey Page, Hayden and Preston Lilly, and Lucas and Colton Lilly; great-great-granddaughter Emma Page; and so many beloved nieces and nephews – both quirky and great.
Jim was a good man with a good heart who adored his wife, Connie, of over 60 years, loved his children (originals, grandchildren and great grandchildren) and thoroughly enjoyed all that life had to offer. When they first married in 1952, Jim managed an apple orchard in Orwell, Vermont. One day, as they were returning to their small apartment in the orchard, they came across a Vermont State Trooper who had stopped a car on the side of the road. Jim turned to Connie and said, “Now that’s what I’d like to do someday.” And Connie, still with the wind under her wings, said, “So that’s what you’re going to do.” She wasted no time researching how to make it happen – from mandatory courses he would have to take to training at the police academy.
Two babies later and many financial difficulties in between, Jim achieved his dream and became a Vermont State Trooper in 1957, until he retired from the force as a Detective Sergeant in 1985. Jim often said that being a Vermont State Trooper was the best job he could have had. He kept a log of all cases he investigated while working for the Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BCI), including the year, city, and outcome of each case. He was at his best at solving cases, putting all the pieces together. It’s no wonder he was simply masterful at puzzles. His family would compete to find the most difficult puzzle they could find to confuse him, but they never could.
After retiring from the State Police, Jim ran for Associate Judge of Addison Superior Court, and while he also enjoyed that job, he dreaded election season. Campaigning and public speaking were the only things that irritated his nerves. But he must have done something right (in spite of himself) because he was re-elected several times until he was 70, the mandatory retirement age at the time.
“Retired.” It was the only chapter of his life that Jim found really difficult (besides speaking in public). Although this gave him more time to “manage” the Red Sox and Celtics more seriously, he was quick to take a part-time job with Elderly Services, driving other seniors to their appointment. He has always loved being on the road.
Jim and Connie have done it all together – winters in Florida, summers at Perch Pond, trips across the country, visiting the grandkids, horseshoe and bowling tournaments and hosting all kinds of get-togethers. When she died six years ago, it devastated him. But he rallied and did his best flying solo. Jim’s family and friends are very reassured to know that they are together again, side by side, back at Orwell. Jim will be deeply missed, but many will remember him fondly and often. Rest well, Jim (aka Papa, Pa, Grandpa, Great Pa, Jim-Bob, Yogi).
Services for Jim will be held at First Congregational Church in Orwell on Saturday, June 4 at 11 a.m., followed by a dedication at Mountain View Cemetery. Friends and family are all invited after services for a celebration of Jim’s incredible life at his home in Weybridge.
Arrangements under the direction of Sanderson-Ducharme Funeral Home. Online condolences at www.sandersonfuneralservice.com.◊