Liliane Bonora died quietly of heart failure on October 20.
That’s what the obituary said, anyway. Some people might have read the name, not recognized it, and moved on.
But if the story said simply “Lili died,” nearly everyone in town would have noticed.
Her obituary noted that she was born in Monte Carlo, moved to Canada in the 1960s and the US in the early ’70s, then became an American citizen just in time to cast her first vote for Bill Clinton.
She was “an accomplished cloisonné artist and designer.” She was a concert pianist, and also played violin, flute and guitar. For a while, she gave piano lessons.
Lili worked at Soup’s On before opening her railroad station spot. There, she met countless customers who were enchanted by her “generosity of spirit, and her gifts as a chef.”
The obituary continued:
Her devotion to beauty and perfection translated into everything she did. Her culinary and floral creations were breathtaking. She is held lovingly in the hearts of all the lives she touched.
Among those lives was Ellie Solovay’s.
“I was probably one of Lili’s first customers,” the longtime Westporter recalls.
For many years she cooked Friday night dinner for me and my family. In the past few years my husband and I would walk over the railroad bridge to her cafe on Saturday mornings. She made us the best omelets this side of the Atlantic.
When Ann Sheffer — who lives on Stony Point, just across the parking lot from the train station — heard Lili had died, she remembered so many parties Lili had catered.
Ann contacted friends, and learned that a group of parishioners at St. Luke Church had taken care of Lili.
They and others started planning a tribute. A memorial service is set for 10 a.m. this Saturday (November 5), at St. Luke’s.
A reception will follow. At Lili’s Place, of course.
(Lili’s obituary noted that contributions in her honor can be made to the Connecticut Food Bank and Homes With Hope. The story concluded: “An act of kindness each day dedicated to Lili would please her.)