Claude Everett Lilya, 86, of Groveland passed away Thursday, March 10, 2011, at the Bingham Memorial Hospital.
He was born Nov. 22, 1924, the son of Ernest Otto Lilya and Mary Jane Simper. He was the youngest of five children including three brothers, Marvin, Ruben, Freeman and a sister, Orva Park.
He attended school in McDonaldville, in a two-room school, through the eighth grade. During his high school years he drove a school bus. He graduated from Blackfoot High School in May of 1943.
Claude married his high school sweetheart, Grace Smith, in the Logan LDS Temple on July 9, 1943.
By the 30th of November 1943 Claude was inducted into the United States Army and was trained in Camp Roberts, Calif. He was sent to the South Pacific, serving in the Philippine Islands from 1944-1946. He was a staff sergeant at the time of his discharge in April 1946.
He worked for farmers in the Groveland area and bought a dairy farm in Pocatello in 1946. He sold the milk to Mr. Thompson who owned Cream Top Dairy. In 1948 he bought 40 acres in the McDonaldville area and moved his dairy there. Mr. Thompson told Claude, â€śYou cantâ€™s stand in the way of progress. The only way Iâ€™ll let you leave me is if youâ€™ll let me come to Blackfoot and pick up your Grade A milkâ€ť. Claude lived with his wife and family on this farm until his death.
In addition to farming he entered into the solar electric heat business with Homer Johnson as a partner. They installed electric heat, insulation and windows in many homes in Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Utah and even in Canada.
He was on the board of the Groveland Cemetery from 1957-2011.
He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served in many leadership positions. He served five missions with his wife: St. George Visitors Center 1981-1983, Perth, Australia, Esperance Branch president 1990-1991, Burningham, England, Service Mission 1995-1996, Sidney, Australia Service Mission and Nauvoo Illinois, Reconstruction of the Nauvoo Temple, 1999.
He also served on several canal boards, was a member of the Committee of Nine for Water Resources and was inducted into the Idaho Water Users Association Hall of Fame in 1997.
He spent his life serving others and doing what he could to make the world a better place wherever he was.
He is survived by is wife, Grace; his children LaRie (Clarence) Peck, Lee Ann (Douglas) Korth, Claudon (Margaret) Lilya, Rodney (Nancy) Lilya, Lorin (Kristine) Lilya, Lene (Devon) Harley, 41 grandchildren, 101 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild.
He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers.
Funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 19, 2011 at the Rose LDS Chapel.
The family will meet with friends and relatives from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 18, 2011, at Hawker Funeral Home, 132 S. Shilling Ave., Blackfoot, and again for one hour prior to service at the church.
Interment will be in the Groveland Cemetery.
Condolences may be sent to the family at: firstname.lastname@example.org.