Lila Lee Gilliam was born December 17, 1928 in Seattle, Washington, to Homer Bostain and Nellie Alexander Bostain. Lila was the third child born to the Bostain family and the first girl. Like many families during the depression, the Bostains moved to California for work. Her parents and older brothers, Gilbert and Richard, worked in the rice and hop fields on her uncle’s ranch while Lila, although fairly young, was responsible for watching her younger sister Jean. Once the economy improved, Lila’s family moved to Vashon Island, Washington, and one more son, Kenneth, was added to the family.
When Lila was an adult, she moved with her daughter Claudette to Seattle, where she had a variety of careers during her working years. While working at the Seattle World’s Fair in l962, she met her future employer who hired her to manage one of the restaurants at the Edgewater Inn, the hotel where the Beatles and other famous performers stayed while performing in Seattle. Lila became good friends with many of her customers and those friendships lasted throughout her life. While working at Rainier Brewery, she became one of the first women hired in their qualify control department and had many stories to tell of her years with the brewery. She continued her education while working at the brewery and was one credit short of having her engineering degree when she retired.
It was at Rainer Brewery that Lila met John Gilliam and they were later married. John died at the age of 46 years and this loss broke her heart.
Upon her retirement Lila moved to Sutherlin, Oregon, to be near her daughter Claudette and grandchildren. This was special for her because it gave her time to enjoy her two grandchildren, Cord and Michele Von Derahe, and be a part of their lives and their families.
Lila suffered from hearing loss due to Meniere’s Disease and missed being able to hear her beloved music but she did not let this slow her down. She attended as many of her grandchildren and great grandchildren’s activities as she could. She was a voracious reader and familiar patron at the public library and used book stores. Lila cherished her friends at the Sutherlin Senior Center and had so much fun preparing treats for their birthdays. In fact, while she was hospitalized shortly before her passing, she worried about missing some of their birthdays.
Lila passed away on the evening of December 19, 2012, with her loving family by her side. Her family feels so blessed to be able to be with her throughout the final weeks of her life. Lila never complained during this journey and always said she was in God’s hands so there was nothing to worry about.
Lila was predeceased by her husband John, her mother and father, brothers Richard and Gilbert, sister-in law Joni, sister Jean, and son-in-law Gary Von Derahe. She is survived by her daughter Claudette; grandson Cord and his wife Jennifer; granddaughter Michele and her husband Greg Sanberg; grandchildren: Gavin, Savannah, Abigail, Madeline, Elizabeth; brother Ken; sister-in-law Sally Bostain and numerous nieces and nephews.
We would like to invite her friends to attend a gathering and remembrance of Lila at 1 p.m. at the Best Western, Hartford Lodge in Sutherlin on February 9, 2013.
Please join us on Saturday as we celebrate this very special lady.