Longtime Gretna Town Manager dies following brief illness

The Town of Gretna lost a “wealth of knowledge” Sunday with the passing of longtime Town Manager David Lilly, 67, who died after a brief and sudden illness.

  Gretna Mayor Keith Motley explains that Lilly was a dear friend who he had worked closely with for some time. “He had been with the town for more than 40 years, coming to work at the water treatment plant as an operator and then moving up to Town Manager when the opportunity arose.”

  Motley applauds Lilly’s extensive knowledge of the town’s inner workings plus his excellent memory. “He could tell you anything about any citizen’s waterlines including when they were put in. He kept a sharp eye on things and would connect with me weekly or sometimes daily to update me on what was being done in the town and what needed to be done,” says Motley.

  “I used to tell him that he should make a book of everything we needed to know for whenever he retired.  He would say that he planned to, but unfortunately the end came unexpectedly. However, he has trained his staff well and they will use what they learned from him to keep the town moving forward.”

  The mayor explains that in a week or so town council will have a special called meeting to discuss the options on naming a new town manager.  

  Lilly was a big supporter of giving people second chances and tried to offer young people community service (through the town) to let them see what it’s like to serve the community.

  In earlier times, he worked with youth sports and definitely had a passion for coaching. Going to the lake was another joy in his life as well as his family.

  He leaves behind his wife, Dale Tosh Lilly, one son, William David Lilly of Lynchburg; one daughter, Jessica Lilly Godfrey and husband, Mark Ian Godfrey of Dublin; one foster grandson; and one sister, Jennifer Swart and husband, Mark of Altavista. 

  He was a son of Phyllis Young Lilly and the late Rev. William David “Bill” Lilly.  Lilly was the town manager for the Town of Gretna; and a member of the First Baptist Church of Gretna where he served on the audio/visual team and as a Deacon.  He was the President of Gretna Youth Sports for many years; and he enjoyed boating on Smith Mountain Lake, making knives, playing the drums, spending time with family, and coaching. 

  He was appointed by the Governor of Virginia in 2016 to Selective Service for the Military.