Lillian Milani

Lillian Milani passed away on January 9, 2023

Lillian Milani was the first child born to Joe and Linda Zanoni. She grew up on a dairy in La Honda, California. She attended a one room school for eight years! Her family moved to Newark, California after she completed 8th grade and she graduated from Washington Union High.

She loved her horses and spent all her free time riding. One day she was riding her horse and she met the neighbor’s son, who was working on irrigation for the pasture. It was true love and they married in 1959 in Reno, Nevada.

Mervin’s parents, Louis and Ina, gave them a house, which they made into a home with the birth of Dennis and four years later, the arrival of Sharon.

They followed Louis and Ina to Cottage Grove to be partners in a cattle ranch in 1968. She really missed her family in California, especially her sister, Mary Jane, but she loved her new home. She took great pride in decorating it with antiques that she ferreted out and refinished herself. They built their house with the help of many friends and family members and they lived their ever since.

She worked for a few years in the kitchen at Bohemia Elementary and made many good friends.

She loved entertaining, and she hosted huge dinners to celebrate birthdays and holidays. She included family, friends, acquaintances, and occasionally passers-by and stranded motorists! She made everything from scratch. She made amazing chili, but her favorite thing was baking. I had to help her with assembly-line cookie making that would have made Henry Ford proud. We followed Grandpa Milani’s family tradition of pie for breakfast and she would make 15 pies and have everyone over for breakfast on major holidays. If you mentioned a weird pie you heard of, she considered it a challenge and would find a recipe and make it. Her Betty Crocker cookbooks definitely were a prized possession. She loved making rolls and candy, but her signature pastry was Sour Cream Twists, from a recipe she found on a package of Gold Medal Flour. She won prizes in baking competitions for her cookies and pastries.

She kept her house immaculate. She took care of her garden as if it were a full time job. She also could be counted on to milk the cows, drive the tractors, buck the hay bales…anything that dad asked her to do. They were married for 63 years and they were inseparable that entire time. She was a very loving wife, mother, and grandmother and she will be greatly missed. A graveside service was held January 18, 2023 at Brumbaugh Cemetery. Arrangements are in the care of Smith-Lund-Mills Funeral Chapel and Crematorium.