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Lorraine “Lolly” (Sanford) Gilman died at home on September 3, 2020. Lolly was a lifelong resident of Pepperell and saw many changes in her 90 years. She had early memories of riding the back roads of town in a horse and buggy with her beloved grandfather, Fred Hartwell; pretending, with her sister, Janie (Maynard), to be on the radio as they sang into saucepans on the back step; and being pampered by her aunt, Dodie, at Bell Farm in Hollis.
As a young woman, Lolly was a switchboard operator in the telephone office above what is now McNabb’s General Store on Main Street. She married Pete Gilman in 1951 and became a mother the following year, and that marked what she thought of as the best part of her life: being a mother to Peter and Laurie. She would say that as they were growing up, she always wished she could keep her kids home from school for an extra week to enjoy them while the rest of the world went along with its business.
Lolly enjoyed life in a Pepperell in which everyone knew each other. She was an active member of the United Methodist Church and the old Pepperell East Village Club. She was a Cub Scout den mother and an early member of the Pepperell Garden Club.
Lolly enjoyed all types of handwork: sewing, knitting, and embroidery; so it was fitting that after her husband Pete died in 1968, Lolly went to work for Elsa Williams Needlework in West Townsend. Then the quilting bug bit, and in any spare time she had, you would find Lolly patiently hand stitching bits of colorful fabric into family treasures.
Lolly lived with her daughter Laurie and her husband John F.X. Blagdon. In her retirement, Lolly was able to return to what she loved best as a grandmother to Sarah. From long baby-stroller rides to graduations, Lolly enjoyed every minute. And even though she couldn’t understand Sarah’s graduate work in applied mathematics, she was very proud just the same.
Though as a young boy, Peter’s son, Jamie, lived further away, Lolly loved her grandson and was delighted to get to know him when his family moved closer. As he grew older, Lolly enjoyed knowing that he lived a happy and active life with his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Erica. Lolly especially looked forward to the letters her great-granddaughter would send.
Lolly experienced great loss throughout her life, losing her father, Loran, when she was just ten, and her mother, Helen, ten years later; becoming a widow at 38 and then, greatest heartbreak of all, losing her son in 1993. But, Lolly had a strong faith and a resilient heart. Her later years found Lolly out three or four times a week lunching with friends, sewing with quilting groups, and taking rug hooking lessons. She enjoyed gardening, feeding the birds, and watching the deer, the turkeys, and the foxes from her back window.
As much as Lolly loved her hometown of Pepperell, she found her little piece of heaven on earth at Piper Pond in Abott, Maine where she would watch boats and birds and swimmers by day and listen for the lonesome call of the loon by night. It is at Piper Pond that Lolly will take her final rest on this earth. May its waves rock her gently along to her next journey.
In lieu of flowers, Lolly's family kindly requests that expressions of sympathy be made to:
PO BOX 1247
Pepperell, MA 01463