Lilli Y. Hollon, MD 80 years old, died at 10:45 am May 22, 2012 as a result of a car accident occuring at Kemp Road and Route 117. She was born at Oct 9, 1931 in Calgary, Alberta Canada to Emil and Lydia Yanke. She was preceded in death by her sister, Elaine Yanke and her first husband, Eduardo Rolita. On December 9, 1999 she married Billy Hollon who resides in Wapakoneta.
She was tall and bautiful and truly bigger than life. No one could possibly have ever met her and not remembered it. The most recent story is how her daughter, Lydia Rolita, went to get the hat she was going to wear to this funeral dry cleaned in New York where she lives. All 3 of the chinese dry cleaners asked about her. At the front of the line but at a loss of how to break it, she explained what had happened. They shut down the line and could not stop crying. They barely spoke english but were devastated by the loss of her. Her sense of humor was outrageous. She could bring you to laughter faster than anyone you knew. Her nickname was “diamond lil”. When her daughter called her on Mother’s day just a few weeks ago, she asked her what she was doing and her daughter said she was going surfing. Lilli, without a pause, said “do me a favor and if you decide to drown right beforehand please give me a phone call”. She sent people packages of completely unrecognizable things with cards, unsigned (so you could use them again) and strange but funny gifts like silly hats and underwear.
Mrs. Hollon as a young woman moved with her family from Canada to Lodi, California. One day a missionary doctor came to her church – Fairmont Seventh Day Adventist church in Lodi – and spoke about being a medical missionary abroad. She made it her life goal at that moment, aged 13, to do just that. A gifted young woman, after an accelerated program in both high school and college, she applied for medical school. She was rejected due to her young age so her brother-in-law Joseph Verska, drove her to the bus station where she boarded a bus for Monterey Mexico to start Medical School. She later transferred to Heidelberg University in Germany on full scholarship to finish medical school. At the time she lived with her sister Linda. She interned in several hospitals afterwards both in Europe and in the States for various specialties – always staying focused on her goal of being a medical missionary. She met her first husband, Eduardo Rolita, in Virginia where she was interning at a doctor’s office. They were married shortly therafter and she went on honeymoon with him to Europe. While they were in Geneva, Italy there was a flood that flooded their honeymoon cabin. Her husband was making plans of escape out the back window as water poured into the cabin. Meanwhile she was praying for rescue. She said “dear lord, if you save us from this flood, I promise to devote myself to a life of medical missionary work and will go to Africa tomorrow. You see, she had failed to mention that there was a letter on the table that just arrived that was saying they needed a physician in Ethiopia to take over a hospital. The flood stopped and off they went to Ethiopia. After crossing the Sahara desert in their yellow Mercedes – a gift from her father Emil Yanke – they arrived at their destination. While there she ran a hospital with a leper colony of 450 lepers as well as an orphanage. She was in Ethiopia for 10 years with her husband and her daughter Lydia Rolita who was born on May 14, 1974, until the family was told they had to leave the country after the revolution. After return to the states she continued missionary work in various other places including Cambodia, Vietnam, Romania, Russia, Mexico and an indian reservation in Arizona. After her first husband’s death in 1998, she met Billy Hollon and they were married in 1999. She later settled in Wapakoneta where his family resided. There, she cultured a passion for bowling and bicycle riding.
Survivors include a daughter Dr. Lydia Rolita, New York, stepchildren Gary Hollon of Durham, NC and Tracie (Hollon) Cyr of Columbia, MD; sisters Linda Mansur of Novato, CA, Gladys Jennings of Lodi, CA and Erma Baker of Dana, CA.
She was preceded in death by a sister Elaine Verska.
Memorial service will be held 3:00 p. m. Sunday June 10 2012 at Seventh Day Adventist Church at 1976 Spencerville Road, Lima, Ohio 45805 with Pastor Don Bynard officiating. Burial has taken place in Cherokee Memorial Park Cemetery, Lodi, CA Memorial contributions may be given to the church missionary fund.