PHILLIPS — The heavens are so much brighter. Lillian Hazel Jones Leeman is lighting it with her love. While lovingly cared for by her family, she slipped away Saturday, July 28, to reunite with family and friends who had gone before.

She was born Oct. 4, 1940, daughter of the late Alton and Alice (York) Jones of Weld, one of eight children: Ella (Webster), Nellie (Haley), Maude (Briggs), Frank, May (Cooper), Grace (Baker), Lillian (Leeman) and Cecil. It was in her parents’ home she learned generosity of spirit, no matter what you had it was enough to share.

Lily was a child of World War II. Sitting nightly with her dad listening to the radio about the war and blacking out their windows informed her world. It made life that much sweeter. Here she gained love of the written word, as a voracious reader, she traveled to places only her imagination could lend. She learned to empathize with victims of the Holocaust. And laugh at the adventures of Huck Finn. Love of reading became one of her favorite gifts to share. Lily was taught the challenge of a crossword puzzle. She was our “go to” for the Sunday paper answers. At her parent’s home, it was well known among all of her siblings to remain silent if your words were not kind and always rely on your faith through prayer.

Lily attended Weld schools and graduated from Dixfield High School. This June, she went to her 60th class reunion with many of her classmates. Pictures tell a story of wonderful memories made. Before graduation day, she attended a local dance at the Weld Dance Hall and, though reserved and shy, she knocked on a young man’s car window and asked him to come back in to dance “Ladies Choice.” That dance lasted 60 years with James Leeman, her one and only love. And what a dance. They were married Sept. 27, 1958. Eventually, Lil and Jim settled in Phillips, where they spent the majority of their lives together.

She was a working mom, the role she relished most. Dance parties at their home were a favorite way to socialize. They became members of their community and the Masons and Eastern Stars. They loved to go camping, whether in a tent at many campgrounds, a camper in the North Woods while fishing with family and friends, at Camp on Center Hill or Sparks Cabin on Webb Lake; getting back to nature was everything to Mom. But for her, there really was no other place like Weld. It had her heart and was in her bones. No matter where she traveled, the beauty of Weld never failed to strike a sense of awe and peace at the same time. She loved to share it, as she did anything that she had. Lil was a wise and compassionate counselor. If anyone needed a place to call home, she made up a bed. She believed that love made a family and taught her children the same. She was infinitely kind with a ready smile, but nothing lit up her face like the sight of her grandchildren Christopher Aaron and Audra Leigh.

These past years, Lillian has been our warrior, refusing to let Parkinson’s disease steal her life. With every fall, she would bounce back up and take it again. She taught us true strength, tenacity and absolute love for life. She was incredibly grateful to the doctors, nurses and caregivers who came into her life during her journey, showing her compassion, kindness and how to get back up again. The family would like to express gratitude to everyone at Orchard Park and Androscoggin Home Health and Hospice who provided for our wife, mom and Grandma Lily with the care they would have given to their very own.


If she could leave you with this one wish: Tuck your children in every night, read to them, even just a paragraph from a book, listen to their prayers and let them know they are precious.

Lil is survived by her husband, James Leeman; her daughter, Rebecca Leeman, and wife Lisa Cody; her son, Lonnie Leeman, and husband, Eric Baxter; her grandchildren; her siblings Gracie Baker; Cecil Jones and wife, Beverly; her in-laws Gail Luce; Ralph Luce and wife, Rayanne; Cheryl Goding, Dale Briggs; and Fred Cooper; and beloved nieces and nephews, who she held in her heart as her very own children.

She was predeceased by her parents; her siblings Ella, Nellie, Maude, Frank and May; and in-laws Glen Luce, Rocky and Hugh Targett.

Lillian H. Leeman

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