In Memoriam

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Lilian Schwichtenberg Neilson ’34

Lilian Schwichtenberg Neilson ’34, January 29, 1996, in Portland. After graduating from Reed with a BA in biology, she and her twin sister, Marian Schwichtenberg Neilson Ellis ’34, entered the University of Oregon Medical School, where they both earned masters degrees in bacteriology with minors in biochemistry. Lilian worked as a bacteriologist for the State Board of Health from 1935 until 1942. She married Duncan Neilson in 1938 in a double ceremony with her sister, who married Neilson’s identical twin brother. After World War II, Lilian's husband practiced medicine in Portland while they raised a family of seven children. Their hobby of growing orchids eventually expanded, becoming a family business. She took an active role in propagating and cloning the plants. After her husband’s death in 1971, Lilian continued to work as the business’ master plant propagator and vice president until her retirement in 1986. She was active in the Westminster Presbyterian Church and a longtime volunteer with the March of Dimes. Survivors include her twin sister; four daughters; three sons, including Duncan Neilson II ’65; and 13 grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: May 1996

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