Accident victim Kathleen Lilley: Family and hard work were her focus

Vivian Lilley described her late mother Kathleen as a woman who loved her family and worked hard.

Kathleen Lilley, 69, of Shelton died Sept. 6 from injuries sustained in a car accident on Constitution Boulevard two days earlier. A car being driven by Kathleen Lilley and another vehicle collided at the intersection with Ivy Brook Road and Waterview Drive.

The mother and daughter were coming from a medical appointment when the accident occurred.

Many years of hard work

Vivian, a Shelton resident who was the only passenger in her mother’s car, said her mom had worked for years as a restaurant waitress and at laundry establishments in Milford and Bridgeport.

“She worked hard,” she said.

Her mother liked spending time with Vivian’s children. “She would watch TV with my kids or we’d go for long rides with them, taking them places,” Vivian said.

Was a Maine native

Kathleen grew up in northern Maine, one of 16 children. She moved to Connecticut in the 1970s, living in Milford until relocating to Shelton about 10 years ago.

She had three children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Vivian said a Shelton High School social worker has been working closely with her son, who was “devastated” by his grandmother’s death. “They are helping him,” she said, expressing her gratitude.

While growing up, Vivian said her mother would pick potatoes to earn $3 a week to help support her family. She’d also take a younger sister to the store every week to buy her an orange soda.

Liked tag sales and thrift stores

Kathleen Lilley loved to go to tag sales and thrift shops, collecting anything to do with pigs and dolphins — from stuffed animals to figurines.

“She liked anything Hawaiian,” Vivian said. “She always fantasized about going to Hawaii.”

Unfortunately, Kathleen never was able to make a trip to the Aloha State.