Maj. Robert A. Lilly, Jr., USAF (Ret.) passed away peacefully on 1 June 2019, after a brief illness. Son of Robert A. Lilly, Sr., and Emily Lilly, Robert was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1936. A graduate of Georgetown Preparatory School and Georgetown University, Robert joined the United States Air Force in 1959, where he served our nation as a pilot and trainer. During his service, he flew for the Strategic Air Command in Mountain Home, Idaho; advised the Utah Air National Guard in Salt Lake City; conducted tactical airlift operations during the Vietnam War; and served with the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron in Guam, where he piloted a C-130 into typhoons in the Pacific Ocean. In 1980, he retired as a Major in the Air Force, and continued flying as a civilian pilot. During his career, he flew to over 40 countries and accrued over 10,000 hours in the C-130.
Robert married Mary Nancy Dee in 1969, and they had two children, Catherine and Francis. After his retirement, the family returned to Salt Lake City, Utah, and made it their permanent home. When he was not flying around the world to sustain his family, Robert loved to fly model airplanes and operate model trains. He was also an excellent photographer, a diligent craftsman and modeler, a committed volunteer, an adventurous traveler, and a devout Catholic. Robert had a sharp wit, an insatiable curiosity about the world, and he could tell a great story. Above all, Robert was a loving and devoted husband, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, and friend, and he undertook great personal sacrifices so that the people in his care could thrive. Robert is preceded in death by his wife, Nancy, his sister, Anne, his granddaughter, Lilly, and his nephew, David. He is survived by his daughter and son, his grandson, Robert, his niece, Marianne, and his nephews, Danny and Bob. His family wishes to thank all those who provided for his care in the last month of his life, especially Dr. Leigh Anna Thompson.
A funeral mass will be celebrated in his memory at 11:00 am on 20 July 2019 at St. Thomas More Catholic Church, at 3015 E Creek Road, Sandy, Utah. He will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, or to a charity of choice.