Mary Edith Lillis

August 30, 1932October 19, 2018
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Mary Edith Lillis, age 86, died on October 19, 2018 at Bishop Spencer Place. Visitation will be held 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at McGilley Memorial Chapel-Midtown, 20 W. Linwood, KCMO 64111, with a Rosary at 7p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 a.m. on Friday, October 26 at Visitation Catholic Church, 5141 Main Street, KCMO 64112. The family requests in lieu of flowers memorials be made to The Kansas City Rose Society, C/O Loose Park Garden Center, 5200 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64112. Mary Edith was born on August 30, 1932, the first of 7 children to John and Mary Edith Lillis. That earned her the title of the older sister that lasted until now. She was always the example of how to do things the right way. First, through her education at St. Elizabeth Grade School, Bishop Hogan and St Teresa’s High Schools, and graduation from Avila University, through her working career, and all of the wide range of activities that she was so closely involved. She was an inspiration and a supporting force for all of her siblings, nieces, nephews, great- nieces, great-nephews, and the abundance of friends and coworkers. She was always there and each of us would think that we might be her favorite, but in reality all of us were her favorites. She truly practiced "love thy neighbor as thy self". Mary Edith worked for over 50 years for the City of Kansas City, MO. She began as a Swimming Pool Attendant in the summers of 1950-52; followed by Drama Technician, Recreation Supervisor, and rising through the ranks to become Superintendent of Recreation. She eventually became Manager of Specialized Services for Parks and Recreation. She was responsible for the coordination of many events including the Mayors Inaugurations, Inaugural Balls, Mayor’s Prayer Breakfasts, Mayor’s Ethnic Enrichment Festivals other receptions, cultural activities, socials and special events. She was an ambassador for the City through her affiliation with the Sister City Association Board, the National League of Cities, membership in the Academy of Underwater Arts & Science, and the international NOGI award for excellence in sports and her distinguished service. After retirement she continued to support her city as a volunteer by continuing to work on many of these projects. Her last involvement was in June when she sponsored the University of Kansas team in the Dragon Boat races that have become a fixture in our City. She was even there to root them on. Mary Edith was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, John R. Lillis and Michael Lillis; sister-in-law, Janet Lillis; nephews, Timothy Lillis and John M. Lillis. She is survived by sisters, Sheila (Lillis) Lyons and Ann Lillis; brothers, Lawrence and Patricia Lillis and Daniel and Judith Lillis; nieces and nephews, Patrick & Gail Lyons, Kasey & Catherine(Lyons) Geary, Walter & Ann(Lyons) Hernandez, Paul & Kimberly Lyons, Carol Lillis, Sheila Lillis, Cathleen Lillis, Steven & Gretchen(Lillis) Gafrick, Scott Lillis & Jean Gorton; great-nieces and nephews, Michael & Marina Lyons, Jonathan & Brittany Lyons, Luke & Sara(Lyons) Emerson, Andrew Lyons, Stephen Lyons, Alexis Geary, John Geary, Gabriela Hernandez, Daniel Hernandez, Isabel Lyons, David Lyons, Matthew Gafrick and Andrew Gafrick. Arrangements through McGilley Midtown Chapel, 816-753-6200.


  • Visitation Thursday, October 25, 2018
  • Rosary Thursday, October 25, 2018
  • Mass of Christian Burial Friday, October 26, 2018

Mary Edith Lillis

have a memory or condolence to add?

George Buckley

October 27, 2018

Mel was a Boston Sea Rover, par excellence;
she was a major force in the aquatic world giving decades of service to the field of underwater discovery, education and recreation. She was a beloved friend and colleague who will be missed at our annual gatherings.
Keep strong and share the many wonderful memories of Mel.

George Buckley
Board of Directors
Boston sea Rovers

Gloria and Joe Bessenbacher

October 27, 2018

Mary Edith was a friend and a valuable member of the Morelia Sister City Committee. She will be deeply missed.

José Somoza

October 27, 2018

Mary Edith was a good soul that gave everything to help others. Her creativity was known to me when I worked in the City's International Trade and Affairs Office. Her labors of love and good will define her a good person. God bless Mary Edith and her family.

Dan Orr

October 25, 2018


As my ashes leave this bow
Remember that I am with you now
I am the waves upon the sea
Your smiles and tears are full of me

I am the island winds that blow
I am the evening stars that glow
I am the rainbows in the sky
The morning light, the clouds up high

A part of you I will always be
My name is Mel
Remember me

Barbara. Allen

October 24, 2018

A WDHOF sea sister I wish I’d have met in and around the ocean. As was active and involved in life guarding, scuba instruction and ocean research since the mid-50s and knew some special west coast competive spearfishing women, would have been a treat to talk story together. What an accomplished woman with a life well lived.