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Obituary: Lynn Langman Lilienthal (1941-2022)

Lynn Langman Lilienthal (Age 81)

It is with the utmost sadness that we say goodbye to Lynn Langman Lilienthal who passed away on October 30 with family by her bedside.

Her family: husband and partner for 59 years, Phil Lilienthal, of Reston, VA; her three children; Andy Lilienthal, Cathy Deutchman and Ben Lilienthal, and their respective partners, Laura Lilienthal Blaisdell, Josh Deutchman and Abbey Lilienthal, and seven grandchildren whom Lynn loved deeply; Ella, Maya, Zev, Levi, Rafe, Leah, and Simon.

Lynn was born in New York City. Her parents were Louis Langman and Anne Wertheim Langman. She was the third of four siblings, all of whom she predeceases: Thomas Langman, of Gaithersburg, MD, Deborah Lesser, of Berkeley, CA, and Betsy Schulberg, of New York City.

Although Lynn grew up in a cradle of comfort, her spirit for adventure, social development, and exploration began at an early age. In high school, she traveled to Sweden with The Experiment for International Living, and later, to Kenya with Operations Crossroads Africa. Lynn studied at the University of Wisconsin and the New School in New York City, where she graduated with a degree in Social Work. She then received a degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University nee; Richmond Professional Institute After receiving a master’s degree in social work, she and Phil served as Peace Corps Volunteers in Ethiopia for two years. Lynn worked in a mental hospital, a juvenile remand home, and an orphanage for children with mental and/or physical disabilities. A few years later, she and Phil, along with her three children lived in the Philippines and Thailand. Lynn established deep connections with the Yakan weavers on Basilan Island in the Philippines, helping them market their crafts. In Thailand, she volunteered at Jim Thompson’s House and enjoyed becoming an expert on a single room which she would explain to guests.

Her zest for travel never waned as she and Phil experienced the world both with friends and family, and shared with her children and grandchildren the opportunity to explore new and remote regions; whether in Morocco, Ethiopia, Bhutan, the Amazon, or a remote Costa Rican peninsula.

A resident of Reston, Virginia since 1967, Lynn, along with her dear friend, Peggy Jansons, established and directed PALS Child Care Center, the first licensed infant day care center in Virginia. Lynn was a beloved networker and volunteer in the Reston community and beyond, and was a mentor for many who she encouraged to follow their dreams. She served on the Board of the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), Public Arts Reston, was a key figure in the creation of the Reston Museum, was president of Waterview Cluster, and influenced many to continue to make her adopted hometown a connected, thoughtful, and inclusive place for all to enjoy. She also worked for over two decades with Phil directing Camp Winnebago, a boy’s summer camp in Maine, helping to empower and sensitize thousands of boys and young men to societal issues.

Apart from her many organizational successes, Lynn was one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and loving people. She especially loved children and had a knack for making them feel valued and loved. This special power was especially evident with her grandchildren as she always accepted an invitation to celebrate a birthday, graduation or any other excuse to be with them. When a dear friend’s health failed, Lynn selflessly became her advocate in getting the best services for her. Lynn’s default was both to empower those around her and to volunteer for whatever was needed.

Lynn also appreciated art and nature. Whether it was a work of art, sublime sculpture, or finding simple delicate shells on the beach, Lynn connected with the profound wonder that surrounded her. In her later years, Lynn took up painting and taught us all how to express ourselves through her outrageous and wonderful “intuitive art.” She especially loved Martha’s Vineyard where she spent time almost every year since her childhood.

We grieve her loss and honor her memory and the immense positive impact that Lynn had on so many. A service will be held at the Reston Community Center in Reston, VA on November 12 at 2:00 PM. There will be a reception following the service.

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