Noreen Lilja of Natick, MA, passed away peacefully at MetroWest Medical Center, Framingham, MA, on Sunday, May 31, 2020 at the age of 70 after a strong and graceful 7-year battle with ovarian cancer.
Noreen was born to Henry A. and Winifred E. (Clark) Jerzylo of Millis, MA. She was a member of Millis High School Class of 1968 and graduated with honors as both a varsity cheerleader co-captain and the class secretary. She received a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in speech pathology from The University of Rhode Island.
She worked as a speech and language pathologist for over 30 years in the Wrentham and Norfolk public schools. Upon her retirement in 2014, she was awarded the “Special Education Teacher of the Year Award” from the Norfolk County Teachers’ Association.
In 1973 she married George “Lucky” Lilja at the St. Thomas Church in Millis, MA. Following graduate school the couple resided in Natick, MA for over 45 years raising a family. They enjoyed various styles of dancing as members of The Boston Society of Ballroom Dancers, The Silver Grays Dance Club, and The Fairs n’ Squares. Their evenings were often spent over a friendly game of cribbage. During retirement they escaped the New England cold to spend winters in Florida with her brother and sister-in-law.
Noreen will be remembered for her positive demeanor and ability to offer a kind word in any situation. She cherished a good book and frequently caught the latest matinees at the local movie theater. She remained physically fit her entire life by walking daily, riding her bike, and stretching in the mornings. Her Wednesdays were often spent on the golf course with her friends in the Ladies Golf League. Noreen took particular pride in her role as “Grami”. She could always be counted on to support her four grandchildren, whether it be on the stage, in school, or at the ball field. She was an active member in both the Sacred Heart Parish, as a Sunday School teacher, and the St. Patrick Parish in Natick, MA.
Noreen was preceded in death by her father, Henry, and her mother, Winifred of Millis, MA. She is survived by her beloved husband, George"Lucky” Lilja of Natick, MA, her son Patrick Lilja of Greensboro, NC, and his wife Hilary and children Finn and Shay, her daughter Pamela Peavey of Portsmouth, NH and her husband Timothy and children James and Luke, her brother James Collins of Englewood, FL and his wife Midge, as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Due to current Covid-19 restrictions burial will be private. A graveside service for immediate family will be held Friday, June 5, 2020 at 11 a.m at the Prospect Hill Cemetery in Millis, MA.
In lieu of flowers charitable donations in her honor can be made to Boston Children’s Hospital.