LT. COL JOHN M. LILLA USMC (RET)

JML

LT. COL JOHN M. LILLA USMC (RET)

 

John Lilla passed away Friday morning, Feb 19, 2021 at his home.  John was born June 25, 1935, at General Hospital Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Charles Mac Lilla and Maxine (Lundry) Lilla. When he was eight years old, his parents divorced and he was sent to live with his paternal grandparents, John R. Lilla and Lucy N. Lilla in Peculiar, Missouri. This was his home until his graduation from the University of Missouri, in 1957. During this period he lived in close proximity to his Aunt and Uncle, Louise and Howard Hammack and his cousins, Stan and Tom Hammack. He was at their house almost as much as he was at his own. 

Under the leadership of Howard Hammack as Scout Master, He and Tom became warriors in the tribe of Mic-O-Say and Eagle Scouts. He attended Peculiar elementary and high school, graduating in 1953. While in high school, he, along with his cousin Tom, Jerry Eyer, Robert Mott and Ron Harper were members of the 1952 Cass County Championship basketball team and in track and field John was the Cass County champion in the one mile run in 1952 and 1953. Upon graduation from high school he was awarded a U.S. Navy ROTC at the University of Missouri. He and Tom graduated in 1957 and both were commissioned in the United Stated Marine Corps.

During his senior year, on December 27, 1956 at a dinner party hosted by mutual friends, John met Sandra Jean Baker. His world was never the same. She remained the center piece of his life until his death John and Sandy were married on July 9, 1958. Daughter Sharon Suzanne was born in 1961 and son John Baker in 1965.

In 1967 John served in Vietnam as operations officer(S-3) of the Third Battalion Fourth Marines. He attended law school at UMKC, graduating in 1971. While in law school, he was president of the student bar association, member of the moot court team and research editor of the Law Review. He retired from the Marine Corps in 1977 and returned to the Kansas City area to practice law. John retired in 2006 from the firm of Sherman, Taff & Bangert.

In addition to their beloved children, John and Sandy have been blessed with three wonderful grandchildren, Rachael Seaver, Kelsea Lilla and Carson Baker Lilla all of whom John loved and enjoyed with his entire heart. John was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, his beloved in-laws Jack and Gladys Baker and his cousin Stan Hammack. He is survived by Sandy, daughter Sharon Suzanne Seaver, her husband David and son John Baker Lilla and Tom Hammack and wife Janet, Granddaughters Rachael Seaver and Kelsea Lilla and Grandson Carson Baker Lilla.

Service

A visitation will be held at Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Overland Park Kansas on Thursday,  March 4th  at 10:30 a.m. with a funeral mass to follow at 11:30 am.

Burial to be held at Leavenworth National Cemetery Friday, March 5th at 9 a.m

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