Lillian (Viera) Colligan died peacefully at home on Dec. 13. A true warrior, she fought a hard battle against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with amazing strength, courage and grace.

Lil was born on Oct. 29, 1930 in Oak Bluffs to John Viera and Helen (Fauteux) Viera. She was a force to be reckoned with and will be remembered for her countless contributions to the lives of those who knew her. She did it all, from ripping out flooring to stripping furniture and staining the decks, and believed that nothing was out of reach.

It was through her job as an usherette at the Oak Bluffs movie theatre that she met her future husband Ed. She loved children and having her son was one of her greatest joys. She spread that love by surrounding herself with and caring for all the children she met. Medical issues prevented her ability to have more children so she became an aunt, second mother, godmother, and nana to any child that she thought needed her.

Stories of her impact are easy to come by, from playing Mrs. Claus at numerous events over the years, being instrumental in keeping the spirit of Christmas alive for generations of Island children through treasured letters, to the over the top Valentine’s cakes she baked and decorated for her son’s grammar school classes in the 1960’s.

For over 11 years, she worked at Ben Franklin’s 5 & 10 where she was in charge of the toy section and the penny candy. Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces and getting to know them was what made her happiest. She later worked at Mardell’s for over 17 years and enjoyed dressing up as a clown at the Tisbury Street Fair.

She was a life long member of the Portuguese American Club, involved with the American Legion Post #257 Women’s Auxiliary and helped organize and support many events at her church. On most Saturday nights you could find her singing her heart out from her pew at St. Augustine’s four o’clock mass.

She had a legendary green thumb and was always proud of her flowers and plants.

In lieu of flowers, Lil requested that donations be made to the American Legion Post 257: Scholarship Fund PO Box 257, VH Ma 02568.

She was predeceased by her loving husband and best friend Edward Colligan, and siblings Shirley Zelineck, John Viera and Arlene Viera. She is survived by her son Thomas H. Colligan and his wife Patti Young, her sister Elizabeth Searle, along with numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as countless nieces, nephews, cousins, godchildren and friends.

There will be a celebration of life on Saturday, Jan. 18 at St. Augustine’s Church, 56 Franklin street, Vineyard Haven beginning at 11 a.m. Burial will follow in Oak Grove Cemetery, State Road, Vineyard Haven, followed by a potluck gathering at the Agricultural Hall , 35 Panhandle Road, West Tisbury.

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