Lillian Bellamy Boney
June 27, 1925 - March 2, 2019
Longtime Wilmington resident Lillian Bellamy Boney passed away on March 2, 2019 in the home her late husband designed. Susan Taylor Block shared Lillian's story in Wrightsville Beach Magazine in the 2009 August issue. Below is an updated excerpt for the story as a tribute to her legacy.
Wilmington native Lillian Bellamy Boney enjoyed more than 90 summers at Wrightsville Beach. Looking back on all of those decades, her memories ranged from living in a rustic Ocean Avenue cottage to much more comfortable times on South Lumina Avenue.
"Living at Wrightsville was just delightful. We spent the day on the beach and we were freckled and fried all the time," she said.
As a young woman, Lillian, along with her cousin, Emma Bellamy Williamson Hendren, inherited ownership of the Bellamy Mansion. It was an enviable real estate position that the two women held for 40 years, and their preservation efforts may well have saved the elegant landmark, now a renowned museum of history and design arts.
By the time she was 16, World War II had changed things on the beach. The Bellamy family kept blackout shades over the windows, stayed in the cottage after 6 p.m. every evening, and was only allowed a ration of five gallons of gasoline a week. Lillian traveled from the beach to town most summer days to work as a plane tracker in a secret office at the downtown post office and as a volunteer with the American Red Cross.
On May 8, 1954, Lillian married architect Leslie N. Boney Jr. at St. James Church, and the reception was held at the Bellamy Mansion. They then sailed to Europe for a honeymoon that lasted six weeks. After they returned home, they took up residence at Wrightsville Beach.
Lillian's grandchildren now make up the fifth generation of Bellamy descendants who have grown to cherish time spent at the family South Lumina Avenue cottage. "I tell them to seize the moment and really appreciate the house and the land," she said, with a face full of wisdom and a heart full of memories, "because a lot of things can change on a beach."