The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


December 5, 2013

Obituaries — Thursday, December 5, 2013


Anna Lee Bowyer Lilly

Anna Lee Bowyer Lilly, a resident of the Villages of Greystone, Beaver, died Monday, December 2, 2013, following a brief illness.

She was born on October 1, 1923, at Danese, W.Va., the oldest child and only daughter of the late Leslie L. and Lemma Ann Fink Bowyer. Her only brother, Charles A. Bowyer, preceded her in death on September 30, 2013.

Anna Lee attended Danese Consolidated School through the eighth grade and graduated from Nuttall District High School in 1940. She was a magna cum laude graduate of West Virginia Institute of Technology in 1944, with a major in English and a minor in commerce.

After graduation, Lee moved to Beckley and was a legal secretary for Dave Ashworth.  Following this, she was a secretary in the District VII office of the Department of Public Assistance in the Division of Child Welfare.

Anna Lee met her future husband, Charles Berkley Lilly, her junior year of high school; they rode the same school bus, and he would save her a seat each day. They finished at Nuttall the same year, were at WV Tech together, and after he finished law school, he also moved to Beckley, to begin practicing law. Berkley and Lee were married at the Methodist Church in Montgomery on December 30, 1947, and celebrated their 61st anniversary shortly before Berkley’s death in 2009. Two daughters were born to this union: Ellen Carle and Kerry Lee, and as they grew, their interests, activities and needs became hers. Some of their grade school classmates still talk about the wonderful cookies she made for parties as a homeroom mother.

Berkley and Lee joined [United] Methodist Temple in Beckley in 1950, and continued to be active members throughout their lives. Lee was a member of the Wesley Fellowship Sunday School Class, Foglesong Study Group, Altar Guild, Scouting Committee, and taught kindergarten Sunday School.

Lee loved the Girl Scouts. Although not a Girl Scout as a child, she became an avid and lifelong supporter from the time her daughters became Brownies. Whether helping them work on badges, to sewing them on their uniforms; helping sell and deliver cookies, to making them for their, and their daughters’, Girl Scout ceremonies; financially supporting Mountain Laurel and Black Diamond GS Councils through the years, or enthusiastically celebrating Girl Scouting’s 100th birthday in 2012, Lee truly ‘bled green.’

Another of Anna Lee’s interests was genealogy, and she spent many hours in various county courthouses researching her and Berkley’s ancestors, and sharing the information with many cousins, nieces and nephews. One niece described her as the ‘glue that held the family together,’ as she also worked hard to keep everyone in touch with each other, and enjoyed small and large family get-togethers. If you would ask her what she wanted for Christmas or a birthday, it was always that everyone could be home, go to church and have dinner together. The family had done just that this fall to celebrate her 90th birthday.

Lee was a wonderful cook - Berkley could never get over the fact that most of his friends and colleagues did not have home-made pie for dessert nearly every evening as he did.  Her cookies, though, were the best, and after her granddaughters were born, ‘Nana’ started one of their favorite traditions: Advent cookies, with different shaped cookies for each of them – a yummy way to count the days until Christmas.

She is survived by two daughters, Ellen Lilly File and her husband, Robert, and Kerry L. Mullins, and her husband, Leslie; four granddaughters, Sarah Elizabeth File, and her fiancé, Drew Lineberger, Marjorie A. Mullins Thornton, and her husband, Casey, Lindsay Catherine File, and Laura File Long, and her husband, Dustin; a sister-in-law, Mildred Bowyer, and several cousins, nieces and nephews.

A service of death and resurrection will be held on Friday, December 6, 2013, at 1 p.m. at United Methodist Temple, 201 Templeview Drive, Beckley, with the Rev. G. Randall Adkins and the Rev. Dr. Charles Pullins officiating. Burial will follow at Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens. Friends may gather at the church with the family from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, December 5th, and on Friday an hour before the service.

Pallbearers will be Leslie Mullins, Robert File, Bill File III, John File, Casey Thornton, Dustin Long, Drew Lineberger, and Jonathan Anderson.

Anna Lee’s last years were made immeasurably more enjoyable by the love and care of several caregivers, particularly Pat Duncan and her husband, Bob. The family would like to thank them and the staff of Greystone for all the special things they did for their mother.

The family suggests that donations of sympathy be made to United Methodist Temple, 201 Templeview Drive, Beckley, WV 25801; the Judge C. Berkley and Lee Lilly Scholarship Fund of the Beckley Area Foundation, 129 Main Street, Beckley, WV 25801; or the Girls Scouts of Black Diamond Council, P.O. Box 507, Charleston, WV 25322.

Condolences may be sent to the family’s guestbook at

 Arrangements by Melton Mortuary and Cremation Center, Beckley.

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