On Tuesday evening February 13, 2018 Lillian Ferrera, affectionately called Nana, quietly and peacefully died at her home at Woodleaf Senior Care, Thomasville. At nearly 92 she lived a long a fruitful life. Although her main occupation was wife and mother, she was also a poet and artist. She was an observer of people and nature and would use her considerable vocabulary and skill to fashion poems poignant or whimsical. Her poems were compiled into a book Poetic License in 2010 and shared with family and friends.
Lillian was born in Clifton, New Jersey to successful Italian immigrants on March 21, 1926, the youngest of five children who survived into adulthood. Her parents, Angela Menegus and Santo Sam Milanese came to the United States in the early part of the 20th Century from the mountains of northern Italy. In the mid 1930s the family moved to Hollywood, Florida where Lillian grew up, graduated from South Broward High School, and attended a year of nurses training in West Palm Beach. In December of 1945 Lillian met Carlo Ferrera, a World War II veteran from Brooklyn, New York. They married June 18, 1946, and moved to Brooklyn where their first child Concetta Candee was born. Moving again, this time to New Jersey where their second child Carol was born. Finally, back to south Florida where Carlo, Jr. Skip was born. Lillian and Carl were proud of their children and bragged on them outrageously and spoiled them as much as they were able. They valued education, the arts and music; they instilled a love of learning in all three of their children.
In 1984 Lillian and Carl followed their daughters families to Thomasville.
Lillians life revolved around family especially her three older sisters, Gilda, Katherine and Stella. The children became adults and married; Candee to Robert Henderson, Carol to John DiMino and Skip to Barbara Ann Sadlon. Soon there were grandchildren, six of them: Kristy and Robert Henderson,Jr.; Giancarlo and Cory DiMino; Lisa and Lori Ferrera. In time Kristy married Randy Miller and gave Nana two great granddaughters, Aubrey Carol and Allison Renee. Robert, Jr. married Ariane Stracke and gave Nana her great grandson Teodor.
Life is not without sadness and loss. Lillians mother died in 1955 and her father in 1974, but the most difficult loss for her and Carl was when their daughter Carol died in a car accident in 1992. Lillians love of her life Carl died in 2001 after 55 years of marriage. Her sisters and brother have all passed, as well. She was the last of her generation among the Milanese and Ferrera families.
From 2008 to 2016 Lillian had a dear friend in Cyril Cy Ochs. He repeatedly asked her to marry him, giving her a bouquet of flowers every week and countless cards, but Lillian was not interested in marriage. They remained close until he died in 2016.
In 1966, at the age of 40, Lillian wrote When I Leave My Gang:
For heavens sake dont cry for me.
I lived my life most fruitfully.
Its time for me to take a rest.
To wait until that final test
To see where next my soul will be
To see if I return to Thee?
The family wishes to thank special friends Gloria Lawson and Mary Anne Dolen, St. Augustine Church Shut-In Ministry, Hospice of SW Georgia, and the staffs of Woodleaf Senior Care and Woodleaf At Home.
A memorial service will be held 11:00AM, March 10, 2018 at St. Augustine's Catholic Church. A graveside service will follow at Sunset Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, friends and family may donate to the TGH Medical Foundation Tutwiler Clinic Fund, P.O. Box 462, Tutwiler, MS 38963.
Published on March 7, 2018