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Lillian Violet Lowenstein

Obituary for Lillian Violet Lowenstein

July 29, 1925 - November 18, 2021
San Mateo, California | Age 96


Like a heroine out of Dylan Thomas's poetry, my mother-in-law, 96-year-old Lillian Lowenstein "raged against the dying of the light" until she passed away in the early morning of Thursday, November 18. Having survived a broken collar bone (twice), hip replacement surgery, cataract surgery, one year of isolation during the pandemic lockdown, various infections, sepsis, a broken femur, and trauma surgery, we, her family, believed that perhaps she had a miraculous immortality gene. And she believed it, too, meeting all challenges in her life with the gargantuan feistiness inherent in a diminutive, 4'11", 95-pound, Italian-American woman raised in Colma, California.

At the tender age of 16, young Lillian Scramaglia left Jefferson High School to help her family run their flower business, Colma Peninsula Nursery. The family's industrial-sized, manual transmission delivery truck, its bed and sides spilling over with blooms and driven by a mere slip of a girl, was a frequent sight toodling up and down the nearly perpendicular hills of San Francisco, a vision of springtime brightening the damp streets and the fine florist shops of the foggy, grey City.

In 1946, Lillian captured the eye and stole the heart of Lenard Lowenstein, a veteran of World War II, and they married in 1948, settling in Colma, where the light of their life, daughter Diane, was born. The family moved from Colma to San Mateo in 1961, and cherished son Jeff joined the family a few years later.

Lillian and her sisters were renowned for making dozens of raviolis by hand and a delectable "gravy" that simmered for days. These were a staple they served at all holiday family gatherings, where relatives and friends greedily competed for rights to the leftovers. Lillian was a loving wife, fiercely devoted mom, doting grandmother, and great-grandmother. She worked as a florist, played bingo, traveled the world with her sisters, once won the Jackpot at a stateline casino, and put two kids through college. She was the shortest cheerleader and the biggest fan at the numerous soccer matches, swim meets, basketball games, flag football feuds, and rowing regattas of her four grandsons. She was the last of her generation in our family, which included six sisters and one brother, her husband Lenard and his nine siblings, and all of their spouses. A true great among the Greatest Generation, Lillian outlived them all until she was 96 years young.

Lillian was predeceased by her husband Lenard in 1980 and is survived by her daughter Diane Caserza and Son-in-Law Ron, their sons Marcus Caserza and Matthew Caserza, and two great-grandaughters, Melina and Maya Caserza, all of Visalia, California. She is also survived by her son Jeff and Daughter-in-Law Chris and their sons, Ryan Lowenstein and Matthew Lowenstein, of San Mateo, California.

Friends and family are invited to a Visitation at 5:30pm followed by a Rosary at 6:45pm on Monday, November 22nd at Sneider & Sullivan & O'Connell's, 977 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo. A Funeral Mass will be held at 11am on Tuesday, November 23rd at St. Gregory Catholic Church, 28th & Hacienda St., San Mateo. Interment to follow at 1:00pm at Skylawn Memorial Park, Hwy 92 at Skyline Blvd. in San Mateo.

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Sneider & Sullivan & O'Connell's Funeral Home - FD-230

977 S. El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94402
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