May 18, 1930 – May 13, 2020
Lily (Lita) Siagel was born in Shanghai, China on May 18, 1930 where she lived until the Communist government forced her family to leave in 1949. Along with her first husband Van Rogers and son Dan, she spent the next two years in Hong Kong and Italy before moving to the United States in 1951. Lita and Van divorced a few years later and she married Harold Siagel on January 2, 1958. Together they raised three children; Dan, Stephanie, and Errin. Lita was full of passion and love with an infectious joie de vivre. Although she had many interests such as cooking, entertaining, fashion, design, flower arranging, and travel, family was always her first priority. She loved hosting events and celebrations for both family and friends, often sharing their Fuller Street residence for extended periods. She loved a full house.
Lita formed many lasting friendships throughout her life as well, some extending beyond 50 years. These friendships were incredibly important to her and she forged life-long, indelible connections because of her love and loyalty to them.
Lita was an incredible cook. A self-proclaimed gourmand, she took great joy in preparing meals for her family and friends, often meticulously planning menus and setting gorgeous tables. She loved reading and was forever juggling multiple books at a time. She was an engaging conversationalist and never shied away from discussions about religion, politics, or human rights. Eternally curious, she frequently visited museums, attended lectures, and loved ballet. She was fluent in Russian, French, Italian, and English.
Her floral shop, Tiger Lily in Copley Square, offered a public outlet for Lita’s flower arranging and design talents. Lita was recognised for her impeccable taste and style and it was here that Lita created many masterpieces for several of the best area hotels and special events.
She was a loving grandmother to Samantha, Casey, Nicholas, Benjamin, Alexander, and Rachel; and she loved their spouses and significant others too. Lita adored spending time with her great-grandchildren Camden, Scarlett, Brennan, Josephine, and Lillian.
Lita died on May 13th, 2020 due to complications from COVID-19. She is predeceased by her mother Sarah Mueller, stepfather Karl Mueller, stepbrother Karl Mueller Jr., and grandson Benjamin Bernier.
She is survived by her children, Daniel Siagel (Wendy Cohen), Stephanie Bernier (Rene Bernier), and Errin Siagel (Teresa Koster).
Lita will be greatly missed by those whose lives she touched, but she will always be remembered for her passion and affection for family and friends as well as her deep appreciation for life and its beauty.
The family would like to thank the Neville Center at Fresh Pond for their exceptional care and kindness as they faced the unexpected burden of tending to patients with the Coronavirus and its associated complications. A celebration of Lita’s life will take place at a later date when hugs, tears, smiles, and stories can be safely shared.
Donations in Lita’s name can be made to:
● Greater Boston Food Bank https://www.gbfb.org ● Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, P.O. Box 234 Boothbay ME, 04537 or online at mainegardens.org.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Renee. Renate Yasigian
May 22, 2020
My sweet friend. Lita. I can not believe that she will never beat my house for dinner and one or two glasses of wine. I dont think i canever go back to that lovely chineserestaurant. Where she used to love and go very often. Every time. I picked her up she asked me if I had a great tennis match. And she was hoping that one day we would play together i miss you my dear dear friend and hope we will meet some day. Love you. Lita
May 21, 2020
With deepest sympathy to Lita's beloved children and grandchildren, we join those who mourn the passing of this incredible woman we were blessed to know. Lita's light was obvious the moment she walked into a room full of friends and strangers - her intense ability to listen and curiosity for everyone's life story was a gift. When she shared her life story, it was like watching a beautiful movie. She loved deeply and lived with gratitude and graceful joy looking forward to the next gathering, the next celebration. We will miss your light our Lita and know you are at Heaven's gathering among our loved ones....Sherine and Karim
The Holly Girls
May 21, 2020
When dear Lita move onto our floor, she embraced all three of us with love and food. Over the years, we forged a strong friendship and called ourselves The Holly Girls. Lita cooked tasty dinners for us, as we four enjoyed evenings filled with laughter and stories. And what a delightful storyteller our Lita was! We will miss her so much. She lives on in our special memories of The Holly Girls dining adventures. We, Rochelle, Mary, and Geraldine, will always cherish the bright 🌟 that continues to shine in our hearts.
May 20, 2020
From the day I was born, I was adored and embraced by one of the largest hearts I would ever know. Lita had enough love for everyone -- she made it clear I was like one of her own children. I can see her glamorous and fabulous lipsticked smile; hear her throaty and wonderful laugh as she would call me ”Evenu.” She thrilled in indulging me, as she did with her children, grandchildren, and all whom she loved.
I still remember, as a small child, being called to task for not meeting high expectations regarding things I knew little about (eg., proper table manners!) But the gifts and rewards for enduring such childhood indignities were many. Adventures, the chance to get lost in a forest of chinoiserie, and exotic treats were just a small part of what one received in addition to her many indulgences and, foremost, the full support of her undying love.
There was nothing Lita wouldn’t do for those she loved. She would — and often did— take the bracelet off her wrist if you made the mistake of admiring it. Lita had such exquisite taste that it was nearly impossible not to love the things she had, and wore. These were not frivolous baubles, but were, each in its own way, a distillation of some part of herself.
Lita was love, she breathed it like fire into all she touched, and all she did. A simple lunch was never simple. A small visit never small. Every interaction was passionate, rich; and full. She had the intensity, depth and drama of a Russian character, but she was authentically herself. She lived and loved fully, which is, perhaps, all we can hope for. I loved her in the most fundamental part of myself. My adopted Aunt. My model of a deep and generous soul, who loved loyally, proudly, fiercely, and ultimately, unconditionally, Thank you Auntie Lita, for gracing my life with your largesse and many talents. And for teaching me about loving someone outside of your family as though they are family. Your spirit lives on in those you loved!
May 19, 2020
Lita was a friend, mother, grand ma to my kids just like her mother before her. We loved sharing a gourmet dinner, movies and in 2019 escapades after 8 pm when we would go to have a bite in Newton and connect for a little while on my way home from work. Precious moments.......
Rest In Peace!
May 19, 2020
We will always treasure memories of the most wonderful times on travels with Lita. Her curiosity was so inspiring and she was such warm brilliant company. Lita was elegant, fabulous and truly unique. Lita was very much loved and she also made all of her family and friends feel so intensely loved by her.
Marc and Dominic
May 19, 2020
My mom and I had a yearly ritual of planting flowers on her balcony. I'm thinking of her as the flowers around me are blooming and growing. She found much joy in this.