22 August 1920 - 26 October 2000
Bob Lillie, long-time resident of Pittsfield Township,
of the township from 1969 to 1984, and devoted member of the
Pittsfield Township Historical Society, passed away on 26 October
2000. No resident of Pittsfield Township has had a more significant
impact on the township, or done more to shape and direct its
future. And no one was more interested in or devoted to preserving
the historical record of the township.
On 14 November 2000, the Pittsfield Township Board of Trustees
presented the following tribute to Margart Lillie. The tribute --
beautifully matted and framed -- was signed by all seven members of
the township board. The tribute was written on their behalf by C.
Tribute to Bob and Margaret Lillie
With the care of his loving wife, Margaret, Bob Lillie recovered
from serious injuries incurred during World War II -- injuries from
which he was not expected to survive. Given a second chance at
life, Bob devoted his life to others. And all our lives have been
affected and enriched by that devotion.
After World War II, Bob and Margaret came to Pittsfield
where they raised their immediate family of five children. They
devoted their lives and love to those children. And when their
first son reached school age, Bob's career in public life also
commenced. It began when a taxi cab pulled up in front of their
house on Dayton drive, to take their son to a distant elementary
school in Ypsilanti. Bob and several of his neighbors became active
in the Pittsfield fractional school district, were elected to the
school board, and saw to the construction of Carpenter School in
order to provide a neighborhood school for their children.
About that time, the first major apartment complexes were built
in Pittsfield Township -- and many more were being planned. Bob and
his neighbors organized to replace the township board, which was
closely aligned with these developments. Thus began Bob's
leadership of Pittsfield Township, which he served as Supervisor
from 1969 to 1984.
Bob was practical and frugal, but farsighted. He understood that
a land, which for thousands of years had stood at the crossroads of
a great people -- the historic Saginaw-Maumee and Sauk trails --
would continue to serve that function into the future. And a land
so situated, could not help but be developed. The question, then,
was how that development should be directed. Bob implemented the
first systematic land-use plans in township history, and worked to
see Pittsfield become the first charter township in Washtenaw
County. Under Bob's leadership, the township acquired 23 acres on
Michigan Avenue -- in the center of the Township -- for future
township offices. He pushed for the acquisition of Montibeller
Park, and subsequently negotiated an agreement with the Michigan
State Highway Commission to acquire acreage at the intersection of
I-94 and US-23, for a future park -- later designated Lillie Park
in his honor.
Bob implemented a fledgling utilities infrastructure in
Pittsfield Township, and developed personal expertise in the
subject. At a time of
economic depression and scarce dollars, he guided utilities with
great skill, building the basis for what is today a significant
Always devoted to public well-being and safety, Bob strongly
supported a paid on-call volunteer fire department as well as the
establishment of Pittsfield's first police force. This led to the
construction of the first building at Pittsfield Township's new
service center on Michigan Avenue -- a fire department that also
served as the residence for a fire chief and assistant fire chief.
Those residences later became the offices of an expanding police
force. Bob subsequently pushed for the strategic merger of these
two services into a Department of Public Safety.
While these accomplishments have been very significant, they do
not reveal fully the true impact that Bob has had on our lives. Bob
was motivated by the highest sense of service and commitment to
others, and he reflected that in all relations with other persons.
One of Pittsfield Township's highest-ranking staff members recently
described the impact that Bob had on him. As a young candidate for
his first position as a police officer, he came to ask Bob Lillie
for a job. Bob spoke to him of loyalty, commitment, service, and
purpose -- so moving and affecting the young man, that he never has
forgotten those words -- and he has always strived to live up to
the expectations of the person who first hired him. During Bob's
years of public service, there have been thousands of persons
similarly touched and moved -- and motivated -- by him.
Bob's leadership by example; his calm, quiet, astute, gentle,
but firm guidance; his concern and constant compassion, as
all his actions; his sincere interest in the best for everyone he
touched; and his warmth as a friend and colleague -- have
established a legacy for all who follow him in the service to
Pittsfield Township has been blessed by Margaret and Bob Lillie
choosing to make their lives here. As a result of that very
personal decision, they have not only raised a family, but have
nurtured the quality growth of a great community. We thank Margaret
for caring for Bob, her family and community, and for sharing Bob
with us. And we thank Bob for devoting so much of his life to all
Bob and Margaret Lillie have lived their lives as examples to
all of us. We take this occasion to re-dedicate ours to the service
of others in the tradition and legacy of Bob and Margaret
And to both of them, we express our loving thanks.