Manor Moments

A Good Book Has No Ending: Mary Guers Lillie Book Fund Established at Cornwall Manor

September 2016

There are many hidden gems that make the Cornwall Manor community unique and special. The setting, amenities and services are top contenders, but the true gems of our community are our residents.

Mary and Robert Lillie moved to Cornwall Manor in May 1986 after both had retired from successful careers. Mary enjoyed gardening, sewing and reading – especially authorized biographies and autobiographies. She played bridge and scrabble. She pursued volunteer work at garden clubs, in libraries, and was especially interested in volunteering at local hospitals near her home. Throughout all her interests, Mary was committed to helping other people and to making meaningful contributions to life. Mary passed in 2015 shortly after her 102nd birthday. Her husband, Robert passed in November 2019.

Mary’s family recently established the Mary Guers Lillie Book Fund at Cornwall Manor in September 2016 to annually purchase books and related materials and/or equipment for the Cornwall Manor Library, which benefits all residents of Cornwall Manor.

Born in 1913, Mary was one of eight children. In 1929, at the age of 16, Mary graduated from high school and was admitted to West Chester State College the same year. She earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education/biology in 1933. She furthered her education by earning a master’s degree in secondary education/microbiology from Bucknell University in 1940.

Mary’s career began as a high school teacher where she taught both science (biology) and English. By 1942, she wanted to make a contribution to the United States’ involvement in World War II. She secured a position as a research assistant at Abbott Laboratories, North Chicago, IL. For two years, she served on a team of scientists who developed the first commercially successful penicillin, which was used to treat the severely infected wounds of military combat veterans. In 1944, Mary was offered a position working with viruses in the Viral Laboratory of E. R. Squibb & Sons, New Brunswick, NJ. Mary ultimately found her “scientific home” as a researcher/laboratory scientist in the Veterinary Virology Department, College of Agriculture, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Her scientific work at the University of Maryland included co-authoring many publications and mentoring numerous undergraduate and graduate students. She retired from the university on Jan. 1, 1978.

Mary’s daughter, Kathryn Lillie said, “all throughout her life, my mother had a very fine mind and a generous, loving heart. We hope this “living fund” pays appropriate tribute to her, as it helps the residents of Cornwall Manor.”

We couldn’t agree more. All of us extend our gratitude to the Lillie Family for their special gift that will benefit many Cornwall Manor residents.

Story updated December 2019.