South Yarmouth-Lillian W. D’Orlando, 87, left us on Sunday, May 17, 2020. She was the loving wife and best friend of Leonard F. to whom she was married for 64 years. She was the cherished mother of Leonard Jr. and his wife, Maria (Cicoria) of Yarmouth Port, MA; William and his wife, Kimberly (Rotondi) of North Reading, MA, and proud grandmother of five adored granddaughters, Nina, Kristina, Adrian, Allison and Abigail.
Lillian, daughter of the late Edith (McEachern) and William Hopkins of Winthrop, MA, is survived by her sister Linda Moriarty, wife of her late husband, Jeff, of Peoria, Arizona.
Lillian graduated from Winthrop High School, Winthrop, MA, with high honors, all four years, in a combined curriculum of college-prep and business courses. She was a varsity cheerleader and was chosen by her classmates to represent their school at MA GIRLS’ STATE in 1950.
She was employed as a secretary at Sun Life of Canada, then as an executive secretary at Connecticut General Insurance Co., and finally as an executive secretary at the U. S. Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, VA.
She joined her teacher-husband in starting Educational Publishers, Inc., an enterprise which created lesson plans for secondary school teachers across the country in U. S. History, World History and Current Events. Their successful venture flourished for twenty-eight years.
During a chaotic era in the U.S. –when women were struggling with their identities and career goals – Lillian took pride in being an exceptional wife and mother, overseeing her family with unconditional love, wisdom and an unfailing sense of humor. She always understood that caring for her family was her “special talent.”
Lillian was a private person; she kept her own counsel. Those who really didn’t know her may have thought she was aloof. Those who really understood her, knew better. Her husband often remarked, “My bride has been diamond strong and loyal. After all, she put up with me all these years. She has stayed the course.”
Most important, Lillian instinctively understood the difference between acquaintances and friends. Those who really knew her, realized that her family remained her forever friends. She always remembered their special days.
Over thirty-two years ago, Lillian and her husband moved to their South Yarmouth home. Len taught at Cape Cod Community College and engaged in ecumenical work for the homeless. Lillian enjoyed socializing with friends and they were both proud to attend high-school events for their grand-daughters who excelled in music, dance, sports and scholarship achievements.
Following frequent visits from their sons, their wives and the Fabulous Five Grand-daughters, Lillian and her husband engaged in a favorite ritual. He would hug his wife and declare, “Thank you for our family.” As usual, she would reply, “I did it all myself.”
With an avid curiosity about the “why” of things Lillian was a lifetime reader of books of all genres. She and her husband frequented libraries in Hyannis and Yarmouth to choose works for their reading pleasure.
Ernest Hemingway has described “courage” as “grace under pressure.” Throughout her life, especially in her last pain-ridden months, Lillian exemplified that quality. One of her favorite quotes was Alexander Pope’s “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” She possessed the love and forgiveness which advance the human spirit to a new evolutionary level.
We will never forget her.
The family wishes to thank profoundly each of the RNs and Aids who cared for Lillian in her home during her last days. The two special ones know who they are.