More than 50 years of watching over Indian Hills students drawing to a close for Lillie May in Prairie Village

Lillie May gets hugs from members of the Indian Hills choir Friday.
Lillie May gets hugs from members of the Indian Hills choir Friday.

For more than 50 years the students who went through Indian Hills Middle School were watched over by Lillie May. But when school opens next fall, Lillie won’t be there – for the first time since 1962.

Lillie, 86, and her husband, Eugene, moved into the house on 63rd Street across the street from Indian Hills and the fire station in 1962. From then on, they were a neighborhood fixture, well known in both the fire house and the school. Lillie also worked in the Indian Hills cafeteria from 1962 to 1984. Her husband passed away last year and now Lillie is preparing to sell the house and move to Wisconsin to be near one of her children.

But the end of the era did not go unnoticed at Indian Hills. On Friday, Indian Hills teacher Kathy Kreamer arranged a farewell serenade by the Indian Hills choir and firefighters dropped in from Station 22 to say goodbye.

“I love the kids,” May said. “It’s why we moved here to be close to the school and my church (Village Presbyterian). We always sat outside. We just liked to watch the kids.”

“You are a big fixture of our department,” said firefighter Doug Gibson. “You’ve seen a lot of us come and go.” Gibson recounted that the Mays would be up walking in the morning and stop by the bay at the station.

When the house is sold, Lillie hopes that the new owners would keep flying the flag that has marked the residence for decades. Her husband was a World War II veteran and her son a Vietnam veteran, she said. She also has two daughters, five grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Firefighter Doug Gibson stopped by Indian Hills to give the best wishes of the department.
Firefighter Doug Gibson stopped by Indian Hills to give the best wishes of the department.