Lillian Pauline Potts
April 28, 1943 - January 14, 2019
Lillian Pauline Birkland Potts, of Zionsville, passed away January 14, 2019. “Lovely Lilly,” as she was known by her grandchildren and children, was a dedicated teacher at Zionsville Middle School for twenty years; she would greet students with her morning welcome “Today is a special day.” She believed passionately in the potential of others, and dedicated her life to helping scholars realize their dreams.
Lillian also had a tremendous love for family and friends, and is survived by her husband, Bob Potts — the “love of her life” – her sons Jeff and Trevor Potts, their beautiful wives Ann and Stephanie, and her four grandchildren, Kirsten Swain Potts, Tyler Robert Potts, Jude Emerson Potts and “Baby Julian” Walden Potts. The accomplishments of her grandchildren was (and will always be) one of her greatest sources of pride. She is also survived by her sisters Susan Vreeland, Jean Munyon and Diane Potts, and their loving families, as well as the families of her brothers John and Gary Birkland, who preceded her in death.
Lillian, born April 28, 1943 in Glen Cove, NY, was the daughter of Bertha and Bjarne Birkland, both born in Norway, and was proud of her Norwegian heritage. Family dinners would often start with a Norwegian prayer and be followed with krum kakes, a Norwegian waffle cookie. Lillian lived her childhood in Oyster Bay, NY, a small colonial town 35 miles east of Manhattan, and was a proud graduate of Oyster Bay High School in 1961, where she served as cheerleader, student officer and member of National Honor Society. She attended C.W. Post College in Brookville, NY, where she graduated Cum Laude in 1965 with a degree in secondary education, where she furthered her passion for service as an officer in her sorority, and where she met Robert “Bobby” Potts, of Deep River, CT, who would become her devoted partner and best friend in life. Together, they lived in several states including New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Alabama, before settling in Zionsville, IN in 1977.
Lillian taught school in Harborfields School District in Huntington, NY and for twenty years in Indiana at Zionsville Community Middle School, where she taught language arts and social studies to sixth, seventh and eighth-graders. Middle schoolers were her “niche” and passion. Most parents think they are challenging, but Lillian loved the age group – their intellectual curiosity and their discovery of their life passions. She was a member of the Zionsville Chapter of Tri-Kappa Associate Group, P.E.O. philanthropic group, Zionsville Women’s Club and Zionsville United Methodist Church, and participated in book clubs in Zionsville and Florida, where she enjoyed spending winter months in her later years with family and wonderful friends. She enjoyed long walks searching for sea shells on the beach, boating, traveling and learning about the world with her husband Bob.
A “Celebration of Life” visitation service will be held Thursday, Jan 17 from 5-8 pm and a funeral/remembrance service will be held Friday, Jan 18 at 11 am, both at Zionsville United Methodist Church (9644 Whitestown Rd, Zionsville). The family asks that in lieu of flowers donations are welcome to the Zionsville Education Foundation.
Most of all, Lillian enjoyed spending meaningful time with family and friends, and making a difference wherever she was able. Her daily morning greeting as a teacher – “Today is a special day” – was a message close to her heart. Lillian viewed every day as an opportunity and a gift, and will be remembered always in the hearts of those she touched in her lifetime.