Image by Sergey Shmidt

Lillian D Winston

Celebrating the Life of



Sunrise: June 12, 1933

Sunset: July 9, 2020


“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where, I love you straightforwardly without complexities or pride. I love you because I know no other way than this. So close that your hand, on my chest, is my hand. So close, that when you close your eyes, I fall asleep.”
Pablo Neruda


Lillian Doris Winston transitioned from this life Thursday, July 9, 2020, to join her dear, departed family members. At 87 years old, she died peacefully and joy filled after a nine-year encounter with Alzheimer’s disease.


Lillian was born June 12, 1933 to Robert Terry and Logie Agnes Cook-Terry in rural Brookhaven, Mississippi. She attended Brookhaven public schools and was baptized into St. Paul’s Missionary Baptist Church. In 1943, Lillian’s parents decided it was time to move their family west to Sacramento, California. Two years later, in 1945, they moved 80 miles south to Oakland where her father, Robert Terry, worked at the Oakland Naval Shipyard. For a time, the family lived in the notorious and now historic, Harbor Homes Housing Project on Mooreship Avenue in West Oakland. It was temporary housing built by the government during WWII to house thousands of workers coming into California from the South to find work.

As a young woman, Lillian converted to Catholicism and attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in West Oakland for many years. She was blessed with a deep abiding faith in God and lived her religious values daily. Lillian’s beauty, sparkling personality and joy attracted the attention of the young John W. Winston, Jr. He sought a courtship and offered to pick her up from Oakland's Hoover Junior High School in his green Cadillac. Quickly, he learned that the only way he could take her out on a date, was if accompanied by one of her sisters.


That tactic apparently proved successful. In 1949, Lillian Terry and John W. Winston, Jr. were married. Lillian gave birth to three wonderful children: Ingrid, Christal, and John. They settled in Oakland where John soon became a Doctor of Chiropractic. In addition to being an amazing and devoted mother, Lillian returned to school and worked for many years as a certified nursing assistant. Later, she turned her full attention to assisting her husband in his chiropractic practice in Oakland. A career change then moved her to the old Emporium-Capwell Department Store in downtown Oakland where she worked as a seasoned sales associate until deciding to retire and focus her attention on spoiling her one and only grandson, Lawrence.

As a little country girl growing up in rural Mississippi, Lillian, an avid “daydreamer,” always knew her life would be full of grandeur. She especially loved fishing, watching old movies, solving word puzzles and walking to explore areas she loved. Affectionately referred to as “Ol’ Lil,” Lillian was a vibrant woman with an adventurous spirit. She traveled to Japan, Rome, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and other wonderful places. One of the many things she did as a philanthropist was host foreign students from Japan. Lillian was blessed beyond measure with a wonderful life. Her cup ran over with love.

A dedicated lifetime learner, in 1973, Lillian learned to fly an airplane and received her student pilot certificate. She served as president of The 13 Charms, Inc., a nonprofit organization and social group that raised money for college students and families in financial distress in her community. Not many people know that she enjoyed a modeling career but if you were ever entertained at one of Lillian’s elegant parties, you know she was the proverbial “hostess with the mostess.” She thrived on entertaining and making people happy. She could lay out a feast that words simply fall short of describing. In fact, Lillian will be forever remembered for her “all day” family barbecues and lazy days in the park with the family.

Lillian was a fabulous lady until the very end. She kept her hair impeccably styled, lipstick refreshed, nails manicured and toted her constant companion: her purse! Despite being stricken with Alzheimer’s, the one thing Lillian could remember into her final days was how to count her money.



Lillian was preceded in death by her parents, Robert and Logie Terry; her husband, John; and their youngest child, John, also known as Joey. Also, preceding her in death were Lillian’s brothers: Robert, Harold, and Louis as well as her sisters: Patricia and Carolyn.


Lillian leaves to mourn, her children: Ingrid James and Christal Curry; her grandson: Lawrence James; her great granddaughters: LaShaé, Jailah, and Lauren; her sisters: Thelma Louise Eubanks and Ruth Cody; sisters-in-law: Emmer, Maria, and Joyce; her brother-in-law: Herbert, and a host of loving relatives and countless friends.


Please know as she’s with her beloved family members, she is looking down upon us and asking the question, “Are You Happy?” We will nod our heads and say with a smile, “Absolutely, Mom.”

Rest in Peace,

Ingrid and Christal


Bible Verses

John 14:1-4 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” 

Psalm 121 

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. 

Matthew 5:4 

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 

Matthew 11:28-30 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Psalm 23:4 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me

Image by Daniel Straub

A Poem

In and Out of Time


The sun has come.

The mist has gone.

We see in the distance...

our long way home.

I was always yours to have.

You were always mine.

We have loved each other in and out of time.

When the first stone looked up at the blazing sun

and the first tree struggled up from the forest floor

I had always loved you more.

You freed your braids...

gave your hair to the breeze.

It hummed like a hive of honey bees.

I reached in the mass for the sweet honey comb there...

Mmmm... God how I love your hair.

You saw me bludgeoned by circumstance.

Lost, injured, hurt by chance.

I screamed to the heavens... loudly screamed...

Trying to change our nightmares into dreams...

The sun has come.

The mist has gone.

We see in the distance our long way home.

I was always yours to have.

You were always mine.

We have loved each other in and out

in and out

in and out

of time.

-Maya Angelou



In lieu of flowers, donations for Lillian D Winston can be made to the Alzheimer's Association of Northern California & Northern Nevada

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Photo Gallery

The gallery below is a tribute to Lillian D Winston from her family and friends.


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The Winston Family wishes to express sincere appreciation for the prayers, thoughts, deeds and expressions of sympathy that we've received during our time of sorrow. To the caregivers ("our special angels"), thank you for the love and compassion that you showed our mother. We truly appreciate your kindness. We love you all and thank you.