Cover photo for May E. Lilly's Obituary
May E. Lilly Profile Photo

May E. Lilly

May passed away, Sunday, August 20, 2023 in Kalamazoo.

She was born October 11, 1924 in Timmersdala, Sweden, the daughter of Walfrid and Signhild (Swanson) Johnson and immigrated to the U.S. with her family as an infant. During WWII May worked as a nurse’s aide. She went on to work for Wyoming Public Schools retiring in 1986.

May had a giving heart, was always willing to listen and always had a word of encouragement when needed. She was a devoted wife and mother and was happiest when surrounded by her family. May loved music, especially classical and opera, painting, working in her rose garden, was an excellent cook and baker and was known for her Swedish cardamom bread.

May was a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Wyoming. In 1945 she married Arthur C. Lilly and spent 67 wonderful years together until his passing in 2013.

Surviving are her daughter, Susan (Robert) Julianus; grandchildren, Rebekah (Adam), Elizabeth (Matt), Christina (Josh), Jessica (John), Arthur W. (Alana), Erin and Hans (Brenna) and 11 great-grandchildren with 2 more on the way.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; son, Arthur K. Lilly; daughter-in-law, Frenchie Lilly and sisters, Sally and Sonja.

According to her wishes cremation has taken place.

A private family memorial service will be held at Rest Lawn Memorial Park in Grand Rapids, with grandson, Arthur W. Lilly officiating remotely.

In memory of May take a friend out for lunch.

Messages of condolence may be posted at

Offer Condolence for the family of May E. Lilly

Condolence Messages


August 21, 2023 at 9:57 pm

Although I never had the pleasure of meeting May, I know she raised a kind, giving, and wonderful daughter (Sue) whom I’ve had the blessing of knowing for many years. For that, I am grateful.


Mrs. Jim Hewitt (Patti Khodl)

August 22, 2023 at 12:01 am

Sue and family,

Sorry to learn about your mother. In reading her obituary, she sounded like a very special lady. Reminds me of the poem that was used by Pastor Chuck Grauer at my mother’s memorial service. Titled: The Watcher by Margaret Widdemer. She always leaned to watch for us, anxious if we were late, in winter by the window, in summer by the gate. And though we mocked her tenderly, who had such foolish care, the long way home would seem more safe because she waited there. Her thoughts were all so full of us, she never could forget! And so I think that where she is she must be watching yet. Waiting till we come home to her, anxious if we are late. Watching from Heaven’s window, leaning on Heaven’s Gate.

Wishing you peace in your heart as you navigate this loss.



August 22, 2023 at 9:19 am

Your Mom was the most welcoming person I met when coming to Grand Rapids. Know you’re in our prayers. Peace be with you. Roseanne and Bob


steven taggett

August 22, 2023 at 1:15 pm

Dear Sue, Bob, and family,

We are so sorry about the loss of your mother. It sounds like she lived a long, healthy, and happy life, but it doesn’t make loosing her any easier for the family.

We are sending our sympathy and comfort to you and your family.

Thinking of you all at this sad time.

Steve and Deb Taggett


Gordon Boelman

August 22, 2023 at 5:25 pm

Sorry to hear about your mother passing . Prayers for you


Pastor Bruce & Lynn

August 23, 2023 at 8:20 am

Dear Bob & Sue & family,

I never met your Mom but she sounded like an incredible loving human being. I know this much, her daughter is a gem with the same traits mentioned above.

To lose a Mother is a sad day. We share in your loss.

Pastor Bruce & Lynn Vanderkolk


mary boesky

August 24, 2023 at 9:28 pm

Over the years Sue has often described how May was always wanting to be helpful to the residents where she lived despite her physical challenges. A truly giving person who will be remembered with love by her family.


Leave a Condolence

Cancel reply

Please share your message of condolence with the family, It will be visible to the public but your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked









Obituary Notification Service

Enter your email address if you would like to be notified when a new obituary notice is posted:

Search Obituaries

How do I send a condolence

At the bottom of this page, you will find a condolence form. You will need to fill out some basic information prior to typing your message. (We will not share your e-mail address with anyone) Once you are finished, simply click the submit condolence button. The condolence will be approved before it is published to the web site.

Share This Obituary

Your Name


Your Email


Their Name


Their Email





This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



Visits: 0

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the
Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Service map data © OpenStreetMap contributors