David M. Lilly
Lilly, David M. The family of David M. Lilly announces his unexpected, but peaceful, death on Feb. 12, 2014 at the age of 96. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Perrin Brown Lilly; his children, David, Jr. (Diane), Bruce (Paula) and Susanne (Zenas) and six grandchildren; Z, Henry and Perrin Hutcheson; Irene Lilly, and Austin and Robert Lilly. He was born in St. Paul, graduated from the St. Paul Academy and Dartmouth College, class of '39. After a short stint at the US Treasury Department in Washington, DC, and in spite of his 4F status, he resourcefully managed to enlist in the US Army in 1942. He served in the South Pacific for three and a half years, working on the resupply of 150-200 ships in the US fleet while stationed in Australia, a management-by-fire experience that was to influence the rest of his career. He once was ordered to throw the weekly payroll (in gold bullion) out the door of a DC-3 to preserve altitude; the plane recovered, the payroll did not. Upon his return to St Paul, he met and married Perrin Brown and invested in the Toro Company, where he worked as president from 1945 until he retired (for the first time) in 1978. He was then appointed by President Ford to fill an unexpired term as a Governor of the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C.; he loved walking to work from Georgetown, and had his "most fun" establishing a beautiful garden at the Fed. Home again (retired for the second time) he was recruited to become Dean of the University of Minnesota School of Management (now the Carlson School) and after five years (the third try at retirement) was appointed as Vice President for Finance and Operations for the entire University, a job he often referred to as one of his favorites. He finally retired in 1992, at age 75, and several years later, the garden that was created out of the Morrill Hall parking lot was named in his honor, a most fitting tribute. During his many careers, he also served on corporate and civic boards, including The Scott-Atwater Company, Dayton-Hudson, Honeywell, General Mills, First Bank Systems and St. Paul Companies; St. Paul Academy and Summit School, The St. Paul Riverfront Corp and the Ordway Theater. He loved his family and had an uncanny knack for merging his personal passions with his various careers, as well as always reading and educating himself on all issues of the economy and politics. He was tireless in his pursuit of the perfect golf swing, maintaining a single digit handicap well into his 70's; skied until age 87 and was a relentless fisherman. His study of gardening and his love for the city of St. Paul fostered an interest in public green spaces, leading him to donate the initial funds that made Landmark Plaza possible and, in the last year, to work on drumming up support for the creation of a garden park, overlooking the river, on the old West Publishing site. His motto in life was to always do what you love, and the rest will follow. A memorial reception honoring David Lilly is planned for Monday, March 31, 2014 at 4:00 pm in the main lobby of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Memorial funds have been established in his name at the University of Minnesota Foundation (for scholarships) and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (for education).
Published on February 16, 2014
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