Edna L. Malone Lilly O’Neil, 91, kept her appointment with her Lord and Master Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. She served him faithfully for 75 years.
She was a member of the North Cleveland Church of God.
She was born Aug. 16, 1921, to Garl and Mackie Malone in Laurens, S.C. She was the oldest of nine children.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her two husbands: Robert Lilly (39 years) and B.C. O’Neil (10 years); and four siblings: Robert, Clifton, Bobby Joe Malone and Bille Sue Fleming.
She left home at 19 and went to the Bible Training School in Sevierville (now Lee University), graduating in 1942. There she met her first husband, Robert Lilly. They married after she graduated and he was in service.
While in Camp Blanding, Starke, Fla., they ministered to the prisoners of war and the soldiers in the camp. Many times she would take what she had and cook meals for the solders after church.
At the end of the war, Bob returned to Lee to finish his education. While there, they would hold revivals and vacation Bible schools many times writing her own material. At the VBS in Carson Springs, she was asked to hold a revival because the evangelist, pastor and Bob were all ill. She obeyed God and this teacher became a preacher. There were 112 saved and seven ministers called into ministry from the results of the revival.
They moved to South Carolina, working in the local church, holding revivals and holding vacation Bible schools. She wrote many plays, skits and curriculum for Vacation Bible Schools and church programs. She was a master baker and would bake cakes to support mission projects and church programs.
God called them into pastoral work in 1960. At their first pastorate, they pastored two churches at once (Blackville, S.C. and Springfield). They pastored Valcuse, S.C., Mullins, S.C., and North, S.C. They were at North (Sunny Vista) for the last 13 years of their ministry together.
During these pastorates, she cooked meals for the needy and bought material and made clothes so they would come to church. She would raise funds for the churches by cooking meals, baking cakes, making candy and doughnuts.
Prayer was a major part of her life. She organized prayer groups at every church. In her later years, she attended the North Cleveland Church of God Ladies’ Prayer Group.
In 1981, after Bob’s death, she married B.C. O’Neil of Cleveland.
She became his bookkeeper for O’Neil Enterprise and his caretaker until his death.
She is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Joyce Lilly and Douglas Slocumb of Cleveland; stepchildren: Faye O’Neil, Charles Cooper and Alvin and Denean O’Neil of Cleveland; grandchildren: Wayne and Lainey Slocumb of Cleveland, and Robbie Slocumb of Dalton, Ga.; stepgrandchildren: David Wright of Cleveland, Chris and Tara Wright of Loveland, Colo.; great-grandchildren, whom she loved dearly: Peyton Slocumb, Dalton, Ga., Elizabeth and Benjamin Slocumb of Cleveland; step-great-grands: Lucy and Noah Wright of Cleveland, and Aspen and Stratton Wright of Loveland.; and her siblings: James Malone, Hack and Evelyn Malone all of Ware Shoals, S.C., Jack Malone and Sandy of Lyman, S.C. and Nancy Malone and David Emerson of Lincolnton, N.C.
She leaves some special friends, Virgil and Veronica Carmin, Lela Ruth Parker, Stan and Shelly Earls (Spencer and Skylar), Phil Cannon, Kenny Earls and her special caretaker and niece Arleen Pitts.
Special appreciation is extended to the staff of Caris Hospice.
A Remembrance of Life service will be held Monday Sept. 24, 2012, at 7 p. m., from the North Cleveland Church of God Dixon Chapel with the Rev. Mitch Maloney, Dr. Douglas W. Slocumb, Robbie and Wayne Slocumb officiating.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m., prior to the service.
Graveside service and interment will be conducted at Greenwood Memorial Gardens, Greenwood, S.C., Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012, at 3:30 p.m., with the Revs. Cy Harris, Bobby G. Williams, and Dr. Douglas W. Slocumb officiating.
The family requests memorials be made to the Lilly Endowment at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Cleveland, or Operation Compassion, Cleveland, or the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whitfield, Grundy and Murray counties located in Dalton, Ga.
The North Ocoee Chapel of the Jim Rush Funeral Homes has charge of the arrangements.
The memorial book may be viewed and signed at http://www.jimrushfuneralhomes.com/.