Meet Carlton Senior Living‘s spotlight resident, Lillian Bean — Lillian was born in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts to the DeLaura family in 1919. Her father, Victor, worked in the Brockton Shoe Factory and her mother Emelia, was a housewife. Emelia had 11 children, three of which died at birth, two before Lillian was born, and the third shortly after which caused Emelia to have a nervous breakdown and she was hospitalized soon after. When Lillian was two, her father decided it was necessary to put Lillian and her closest sister in an orphanage where she remained in for eight years while her older siblings took care of the home while her father worked. When Lillian was just seven, her mother passed away from a heart condition. Lillian left the orphanage at the age of 10 and returned home where she was looked after by her older sisters. When she was a teen, Lillian took two years off from high school to work for a family friend before returning to school and graduating in 1938.
That July, Lillian and some friends decided to go swimming and the consensus was that the group would be divided into pairs. Her friends suggested she go with Charlie and Lillian said, “No I don’t want to go with Charlie, I want to go with Steve” as he had caught her eye. The two connected that day and began dating. The following year, the couple were married. Steve worked odd jobs as a mechanic and anything he could get before being employed for the government building homes for troops during the war. He became a well accomplished carpenter and the two were living “high on the hog” earning up to $60 a week.
In May of 1941 their first child, Stephen was born. Steve then got a job at the Naval Base in Newport Rhode Island and in 1942, the couple welcomed their second child, Arthur. In 1944, Steve was drafted by the US Navy and was assigned to the USS Eldridge Escort and would visit every four months. During this time, Lillian gave birth to Tom. In the fall of 1945, Steve was sent home and proceeded to build the couple’s first house, and in 1951, their daughter Sally was born. Soon after, the family decided to move to California and sold their home for $10,000 before making the move across the country. They settled in Walnut Creek where Steve worked as a carpenter and was one of the first builders of the Gregory Garden home tract. The birth of daughter, Linda, in 1958 completed the family and Lillian became very active with her children’s school as a teacher’s aide.
In 1976, Steve passed away after 44 wonderful years of marriage. Lillian lived on her own for two years before she met Ray Bean through mutual friends. Ray’s family was from Scotland and was related to L.L. Bean and Alan Bean (who walked on the moon). The couple were married in 1979 and moved to Idaho. Lillian and Ray enjoyed traveling to such places as the Panama Canal, Alaska and all around the country and eventually settled in an assisted living community when Ray’s health began to decline. They enjoyed 30 years together until Ray’s passing at the age of 105.
In 2016, Lillian made the move back to California to be closer to her daughter, Linda, and selected Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill as her new home. Here, she loves participating in many of the activities and as a life-long learner, makes it a point to ask herself, “what can I learn from this activity?” Family and heritage is very important to Lillian and she is very proud of her six grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
View additional Resident Spotlight articles.
Written by Patrick Coleman