Lillian Esther (Bartlett) Rathbun

April 16, 1933 ~ March 28, 2020 (age 86)

Obituary Image


Lillian Esther Rathbun, 86 of Lee, died on March 28, 2020, at her home following a short illness. She was named Lillian Esther, like Easter Lily, since she was born on Easter Sunday. Lillian was born on April 16, 1933, the daughter of the late Richard W. Bartlett and Genevieve (Dorman) Bartlett.
Lillian attended St. Mary’s School and later graduated from Lee High School. She was a communicant of St. Mary’s Parish in Lee. She married her husband, Frederick W. Rathbun, Jr. on November 15, 1952.
In her earlier years, Lillian worked at PJ Schweitzer, Cranwell School, and Berkshire County Child Care. She worked for many years at the Upstairs Basement in Lee. At the age of 80, Lillian retired from working at Wares and What Nots, right next to Joe’s Diner. Lillian was a fixture in the town of Lee.
Lillian was feisty and energetic which earned her the nickname of “Tiger Lil”. She enjoyed having a drink after work with friends at the Morgan House and then later in her working life, at the Locker Room Sports Bar. She made fast friends and could be seen hanging out with old friends and making new ones while on break from her job or anywhere else for that matter. Once you met Lil, you never forgot her and she was always your friend.

Lillian loved playing bingo, dancing, and cheering on the Boston Red Sox. She even attended a World Series game with her two grandsons. Combing through tag sales and thrift shops searching for a bargain was one of her passions. Although a decent cook, Lil enjoyed going out for lunch and dinner with her family. She was a past member of the Lee Kiwanis Club.  
In her later years, she developed a love of Bon Jovi music. She attended several concerts and was able to meet the band, twice! She enjoyed taking trips to Florida and liked to go to the casino on occasion. Through her whole life, she enjoyed camping with her children. She spent time camping with friends and family in Vermont and Lake George. Recently, she could be found tending to the campfire at Whip-O-Will Campsites in the Catskills.
She could be seen many days puttering around in her yard at her family home. She enjoyed the holidays and loved decorating for Halloween and Christmas, with Halloween being her favorite. People from all over would drive by her house to see the decorations year after year.  Lillian enjoyed the Big E, especially the Mardi Gras parade.  The joy in her face when when she was able to snag a few strands of beads was undeniable.   Lil took delight in fireworks for any occasion.  She was known for her bright red hair, glittery nails and her snazzy outfits.  

Lillian leaves her daughter, Linda Rathbun and her grandson Christian Rokosz of Becket, MA, her daughter Sharon Pease and her son in law Floyd “Lucky” Pease and her grandson, Adam Pease of Becket, MA and granddaughter, Jennifer Gagnon and her husband, Kes Gagnon and a great granddaughter Lauren Gagnon of Lee. She leaves her daughter, Jodi Rathbun-Briggs and her son in law, Edward “Cliff” Briggs of Great Barrington. She leaves an extended family including her sisters in law, Louise Devanna and Mary Rathbun, and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband Frederick “Stretch” Rathbun and her beloved sister Genevieve Miller.
After the COVID-19 crisis passes, a celebration of life will take place with family and friends. To honor Lillian’s youthful and fun loving spirit as well as her love of parades, the family wishes to invite you to drive by the family home at 455 Greylock Street in Lee, from 2-4, the afternoon of Saturday, April 4th with your lights on, beeping the horn and waving, letting her and all of us know that you remember her vibrancy and love of life.
Rain date is Sunday, April 5th from 2-4.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Lillian’s memory to Berkshire Community Action Council or the Lee Ambulance Squad in care of the Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main Street, Lee, MA 01238.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lillian Esther (Bartlett) Rathbun, please visit our floral store.


You can still show your support by sending flowers directly to the family, or by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Lillian Esther (Bartlett) Rathbun


Lee Ambulance Squad
C/O Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main St., Lee MA 01238

Berkshire Community Action Council
C/O Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main St., Lee MA 01238

© 2020 Kelly Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS