Dwayne Emil Lilly, who served as Stanislaus County clerk-recorder from 1978 to 1982, died Monday at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto.
Mr. Lilly, 84, had been a county employee for 36 years, serving in positions from court clerk to deputy jury commissioner to assistant county clerk, a position he held for 15 years before being elected county clerk-recorder.
Mr. Lilly won a close race for the clerk- recorder position in 1978 against David Wurm, who followed Mr. Lilly as clerk- recorder and served two terms. Mr. Lilly chose not to run for re-election in 1982, saying, "I want to enjoy life before I get too old."
A Dixieland jazz pianist, Mr. Lilly led a dance band that played almost every Saturday night at the Senior Citizen Center at Scenic Drive and Bodem Avenue in Modesto for more than 30 years.
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"He was a real gentleman who believed his service to the county was to be professional, courteous and above reproach," retired county Supervisor Ray Simon said Wednesday. "And that's the way most of the people in the county found him."
Retired Auditor-Controller Robert Hubbard also com- mented that Mr. Lilly was "quite a gentleman."
"As far as I'm concerned, he did an excellent job. We never had problems with him," Hubbard said. "When we needed things, he was there."
Mr. Lilly was born in Ripon on March 11, 1923, moved to Mo- desto with his family in 1925 and lived in Modesto for the rest of his life. He graduated from Modesto High School in 1941 and attended Modesto Junior College and Modesto Business College, majoring in accounting and business administration. He earned a degree in administration while in the military.
Mr. Lilly served in the Army Air Forces in Europe from 1943 to 1946. He went to work for Stanislaus County later that year as a bookkeeper in the treasurer-tax collector's office.
Three years later, Mr. Lilly was appointed a court clerk to Superior Court Judge H.L. Chamberlain.
In 1954, Mr. Lilly became calendar clerk and deputy jury commissioner, and in 1963 he became assistant county clerk. When then Clerk-Recorder Steve Nelson retired in 1978, Mr. Lilly ran for the office and won.
Mr. Lilly is survived by his wife, Dorothy Lilly of Modesto, and children Dennis Lilly and Lona Davis, both of Modesto, and Rebecca Johnston of Oregon.