Lillian May Souza

August 14, 1926October 11, 2020

Lillian May (Piva) Souza, of South Dartmouth, known to most as Lil or Lily, passed away peacefully at the New Bedford Jewish Convalescent Home, on Sunday, October 11.

Born in 1926 to John and Mary (Medeiros) Piva, Lil was well-known around greater New Bedford as one of the Piva twins. Sadly, her identical twin sister, Geraldine Sullivan, predeceased Lil by 39 years.

Lil graduated from New Bedford High School and then joined the U.S. Army Cadet Nursing Corps alongside her sister Gerry. Studying at St. Luke’s School of Nursing, the twins made a large group of lifelong friends whose families grew up together. As a nursing student, Lil tended polio patients in iron lungs. As an RN, she worked in pediatrics and general nursing at St. Luke’s. She finished her career as the school nurse at Keith Junior High and for New Bedford’s summer migrant education program.

Wherever she went, Lil seemed to find people she knew, and she loved to connect with everyone, share stories, and laugh. A trip to Stop & Shop could take hours as Lil struck up conversations in every aisle. During retirement she worked at Moby Dick Marine Specialties and The Bedford Merchant, where she especially enjoyed chatting with customers.

She loved doing the daily crossword, watching Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, playing board games, sunbathing, and beachcombing. And she especially loved spending time with her large family and circle of friends.

Lil was predeceased by her husband Alfred, her twin Geraldine, her sisters Mamie Veiga and Jessie Piva, and her brothers John, Joseph, Albert, Walter, and Donald.

She is survived by her children Jane (and spouse Bill Hulstrunk), Pete (and spouse Patti Lease), and Amy (and spouse Dan Gordon), three grandchildren—Callie, Alexander, and Natasha—three great-grandchildren, a sister-in-law, Amanda Paiva and many, many nieces, nephews, and friends who loved her dearly, including her friend Jean Massa who was like an adopted daughter.

Lil’s family thanks the Jewish Convalescent Home staff for the wonderful care they provided Lillian while she was a resident there.

Due to the COVID pandemic, a service to celebrate Lil’s life will be delayed. Her family requests those who wish to honor Lil's life to consider making a donation to Dartmouth’s Lloyd Center for the Environment, New Bedford Jewish Convalescent Home or a charity of one's choice. Arrangements are in the care of the WARING SULLIVAN HOME at DARTMOUTH, 230 Russells Mills Rd, Dartmouth, MA 02748. To leave a note of condolence:


  • Celebration of Life at a Later Date


Lillian May Souza

have a memory or condolence to add?

Michael Gula

October 26, 2020

My deepest sympathy to the family of Lillian Souza. I had the honor and pleasure of working with both "Lillian" and and her twin "Gerri" in the New Bedford Public Schools for many years. There was always a sigh of relief when I would see either of them come into a TEAM meeting. I would know then that the child's medical history would be thoroughly and carefully presented with the utmost care, compassion and professionalism, thereby making the child's need being met to the best of the TEAM's ability. May
"Lil" and "Gerri" Rest in Peace. "Mike" Gula

Lydia Borges

October 25, 2020

Lillian was a pleasure to work with in the NB schools. She was always smiling , easy to talk to and was never too busy to help a child who was brought to her with a medical problem. Her decisions were always well thought out with the goal of helping the child.
She was a wonderful human being and will be missed by so many!

Jan Chambers

October 24, 2020

Sending heartfelt condolences from Phoenix, AZ. I am so very sorry for your loss 🌷🙏🏼

Rosemary Ponte Wilde

October 20, 2020

Dear Souza Family,
Our families crossed paths in so many ways over the years as neighbors, classmates and co- workers.

Mrs. Souza, as I called her even as I was her Administrator in the Massachusetts Migrant Education Program for many years. She was a beautiful person. She cared for each of the children in the program with deep concern and love. This is when I came to know her best and love her. In later years, I would stop in the downtown shop to chat.

As a kid, I would see her taking her daily walk down Middle Street or through the village. She would always smile and wave.

Mrs. Souza will be sorely missed by all who knew her. To know Mrs Souza was to love her. She was truly a lovely lady!

Jane, Pete and Amy, please accept my deepest sympathy in the passing of your beloved mother whom I loved and admired! She was always so proud of you all!

Dawn Blake Souza

October 18, 2020

Such an incredibly beautiful woman. She will be remembered for her humility and kindness toward everyone.

Nancy Ricci

October 18, 2020

I don’t think anyone who knew Mrs. Souza didn’t love her. I was so grateful that I was able to spend time with her! She was the sweetest lady. She reminded me of my mom, always so outgoing and so interested in other’s lives.
Running into her in Stop and Shop was always a joy. She always made me feel like I was the only person in the store! Going to her birthday parties was unforgettable. Visiting her in the Nursing home was so special. A few times, I even had the pleasure of joining her in several activities there. During one visit, I joined her in making puzzles in the community room with her friends. On another visit, they were having a visit with a first grade class in New Bedford. They did an art project with the seniors. You could tell she loved it and so did the kids.
She had such faith. One time, I watched as she ran her fingers through her Rosary Beads at a prayer service.
And, most importantly, with every visit I had she always talked about her own children, Janie, Pete and Amy, always with such joy, pride and love. Her sweet smile was contagious. She never complained.
I could go on and on, but I’m sure all her family and everyone who knew her would agree with me when I say, she was loved by all!
Rest In Peace, Mrs Souza ♥️

Kathleen Horan McLean

October 18, 2020

To All,

I was so sad to see of your dear Mom's passing. She was a great lady who I loved to run into at Stop and Shop. She always remembered me, asked about my family, and was a joy to speak to. Please accept my sincerest condolences.

Kathleen Horan McLean

frank prenda

October 18, 2020

My deepest condolences to Amy, Jane and Pete and their families.
Mrs. Souza was a great lady who will be missed, but never forgotten. May she rest in peace.

Diane Sullivan

October 17, 2020

My memory is borrowed from my mom, Mamie, Auntie Lil’s oldest sister. My mom told me of a day when she got angry with Auntie Lil and Auntie Gerry. The Twinnies spoiled me wonderfully when I was little. One day they were off to Boston to shop. They told me they would bring back something special for me. According to my mom, I refused to go to bed until my aunties came. Mom told me she told her sisters, “Don’t you ever promise her anything again!“ I don’t remember being stubborn. But I do remember the special gift. It was a green paisley Jantzen swimsuit! The Dolce of the day. I’ve so many wonderful memories - enough to cherish for a lifetime.


October 17, 2020

Dear Souza Family:

Like many here, Pete has shared his mom Lillian with the rest of the world through his President Obama White House photographs and his recent documentary: "The Way I See It". It is particularly sorrowful to learn that his precious mom Lillian May Souza has passed on just as we were getting to know her. And yet how proud she must be that her son Pete found a new voice to give us all in his championship for seeking the humanity in our nation-- now in great need for both his vision and voice.

That I share the same family name as Souza from the Azores and my dad was an Alfred and we too are from the same area in MA, I just wanted to lend my kinship to your Souza family in wishing your Lillian a peaceful passage as she wends her way back home.
May She Rest in Peace.

Cheryl Souza-Parejo


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