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Donora girl Lillian Musial Stan's love, Mother Cardinal

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Saturday, May 5, 2012, 12:52 a.m.

Just one day before her hometown was set to rename a bridge in her husband's honor, Lillian Musial died in her home in St. Louis.

Stan and Lillian Musial - Donora High School sweethearts - were married for nearly 73 years. Her illness had kept the Hall-of-Fame St. Louis Cardinal from attending the ceremony to rename the Donora-Monessen Bridge in his honor.

Donora mayor John Lignelli received the news of "Lil's" death from the Musial's daughter, daughter, Janet Schwarze.

Lignelli said he offered to cancel the ceremony near the Stan "The Man" Musial Bridge, but the family requested the event go on.

"I offered my condolences on behalf of the whole community to the family," Lignelli told The Valley Independent Friday morning.

At the start of the event, a moment of silence was observed in memory of Lillian Musial.

State Sen. Timothy Solobay said the couple always "kept their Donora roots."

"Lillian Labash Musial was not just an example of the best of Donora, she was the best of America,," Solobay said.

Born in 1920, "Lil" was one of eight children of Sam and Anna Labash, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Her parents owned a family grocery store in Donora.

"Lil" first met Stan after her father took her to see the Donora Zincs play in 1934. The 15-year old Musial was pitching for the semi-pro baseball team, the Post Dispatch reported.

"It was inevitable that we were going to see each other and be together," Stan Musial once said.

Lillian Musial was well-known in the St. Louis area, where she was involved in numerous civic organizations and philanthropic pursuits.

She was often referred to as the "Mother Cardinal" to the rookie wives and their children during Stan's career.

The Musials have four children, 11 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Lillian was known as "Sugar" to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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