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James M. Lillis Jr., 76

James M. Lillis Jr, of Southport, a former Westport resident, died July 4 at home. He was 76.

He was born Oct. 30, 1941 and was raised in Westport, where he attended the Westport schools, having graduated from Staples High School in 1959.

He continued his education at Cornell University, earning a B.S. and an MBA degree. While at Cornell earning his graduate degree in marketing,

He married his sweetheart, Ann Buford, on Feb. 1, 1964. Upon graduating from Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management, Jim and Ann moved back to Westport. Jim then began his career at General Foods, and spent 35 years in the consumer products industry, where his focus was in sales and marketing.

Upon retiring in 1998, Jim and Ann moved to Wilmington, North Carolina where Jim enjoyed great fishing, boating, and meeting wonderful friends.

While in Wilmington, Jim joined the Board of Wilmington Health Access for Teens, which delivers healthcare to the underserved teens of Cape Fear County. Jim would later be named chairman of the board.

Jim was a fierce competitor, having participated in several New York City marathons and triathlons. He was also a devoted New York Yankees and New York Football Giants fan.

However, Jim’s true joy in life was realized when he became a grandfather. He gained tremendous pride in being ‘Poppy’ to his three grandsons, whom he simply adored.

He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Ann (Buford) Lillis of Southport, and their son, Jamie Lillis of Wilton, his wife Sheila and three grandsons, Owen, Conor and Patrick. He was predeceased by his parents, Vera and Jim Lillis, brothers Jack and Guy Lillis, and sister-in-law Carol Lillis, sister-in-law Karen Lillis of Saint Johns, Florida, several nephews and nieces, as well as many dear, lifelong friends whom he considered family.

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held on Monday, July 9 at 4 p.m. at the Southport Congregational Church.

In lieu of flowers, donations would be appreciated to either the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, 383 Main Ave., 5th Floor, Norwalk, CT 06851, Attention: Kiley Taylor, or the Southport Congregational Church, P.O. Box 366, Southport, CT 06890.

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