Lillian Gish Alfriend
February 19, 1921 – July 5, 2019
Honoring Mom's Life: February 19, 1921 - July 5, 2019
Our beautiful and devoted Mother, Grandmother, and Great- Grandmother, Lillian Gish Alfriend, lived 98 marvelous years - bringing joy and love into the lives of everyone who knew her. Known as "Miss Lillian" to her Ventura friends and church community, and "Mama", "Mom", "Dee Dee", and "Granny" to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, she gave generously of her time and attention to everyone. Upon waking each morning, she exclaimed "This is the day the Lord has made. We shall rejoice and be glad in it!"
Lillian was born on February 19, 1921, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her parents were Jacob and Addie Mae Price Gish. Her brother was George Gish. She spent her early childhood years in Memphis, attending public kindergarten and high school. Upon graduation, she entered Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, Georgia, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Music (Piano and Organ) and Spanish. She was an accomplished musician, performing in many college and local events. Later, as a wife and mother, she insured that her young family would always have a beautiful piano in their home. Music was her joy and gift to share for many years - right up to her final days in Ventura. She would always delight her family with spontaneous renditions of Gershwin or Beethoven or lively spirituals.
On June 6, 1942, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Atlanta, she married her handsome, newly- commissioned Naval Officer, Bill Alfriend. Over the years, they had three children - Mary Alfriend Kennedy, Sarah Alfriend Cerezo, and William Jeffery Alfriend, III. She and Bill were dedicated parents, who shared their love of travel with their children, planning hiking trips in the North Georgia mountains, beach outings to Panama City, Florida, educational excursions to New York City and Washington, DC, and bi-annual family get-togethers in Memphis, Tallahassee, Virginia, North Carolina, California, and New Hampshire. Lillian loved to nurture her family - with plenty of love, AND delicious meals! Many a day her children and grandchildren could find her in the kitchen cooking her famous Southern fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, green beans with ham hocks, and homemade pecan pie. Her recipes were THE BEST!!
Always in the spirit of giving and helping others, Lillian volunteered for many organizations over the years in Atlanta and California - American Cancer Society, Reach To Recovery Program, The Order of Daughters of the King, Church School Teacher, Rancho Ventura Volunteer, Seaman’s Institute of NY (knitted wool hats for mariners), and maker of needlepoint cushions at St.Paul’s and St.Gregory’s. She belonged to several bible study groups and served as a Eucharist Visitor for many years. Upon Bill’s death in 2002, Lillian created the Alfriend Sunday School Memorial Fund at St. Paul’s, which continues to thrive today.
Lillian was preceded in death by her loving husband, Bill, of 60 years, her parents, Jacob and Addie Mae Gish, her brother, Dr. George Gish, and several aunts, uncles, and cousins.
She is survived by her son, Jeff Alfriend; daughter, Sarah Alfriend Cerezo, and her husband, Javier Cerezo; daughter, Mary Alfriend Kennedy, and her husband, Brooks Kennedy. She is also survived by four grandchildren, Christopher Kennedy and his wife Hillary, Mary Kathryn Kennedy, Elizabeth Donnelly and her husband Kent, Maria Caddis and her husband Noah ; eight great-grandchildren, Drew, Lily Kathryn, Julian, Sterling, Aidan, Colin, Matilda, and Leo; niece, Carol Gish, and nephew, Edward Gish.
To honor Lillian’s wonderful life, we will celebrate with a Memorial Service at her beloved St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 3290 Loma Vista Road, in Ventura, at 2:00 PM, on Friday, July 19, 2019. All are invited to a reception in the Parish Hall immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, a contribution may be made to the Alfriend Family Memorial Fund, c/o St.Paul’s Episcopal Church, or a charity of your choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Ted Mayr Funeral Home, 3150 Loma Vista Road, Ventura. Condolences may be sent to TedMayrFuneralHome.com.
Celebration of Life
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
3290 Loma Vista Road
Lillian Gish Alfriend
July 12, 2019
Aloha dear Alfriend family, We join you in spirit as you celebrate a life truly well lived. May the walks, hikes, laughter and joy your Mom shared with you bring the fondest of memories today, and the days ahead.
Dear Lillian- bless you for giving us Jeffrey and for his caring nature, who, along with his sisters and their families will keep your love close, always. You and Bill live forever, in the sparkle of your children's eyes.
July 11, 2019
Dear All of the Family,
Though we did not see each often after the Alfriends moved westward from Atlanta, you all have been in my heart. You know that I always considered Mrs. A. as a surrogate parent, and she knew that too.
My most recent memory is her calling me on January 5, 2019 to wish me a happy birthday. I kept the recording and have it to this day. Her happy voice, singing the birthday tune, reminded me of our Memphis family connections and reaffirmed to me that deep heart connection that cannot even be severed by death itself.
She lives on and I know she, your daddy, my mama and my daddy are having a good time talking about old times along with celebrating the parts of this life they loved the best: US!
Love you all and all the way from the east coast I'm celebrating her life with you, and with you in spirit on the 19th in particular.