Newman Grove

Local residents, area fire fighters honor Craig Lilja

Craig Lilja
An honor guard of the Newman Grove Volunteer Fire Department and other area departments turned out to honor Craig R. Lilja at his funeral service and interment last Friday, April 23.
Craig died April 19 at age 69. He was a 40-year member of the Newman Grove Fire and Rescue Department and had served as Fire Chief from 2011 to 2021. He was a native of Newman Grove, a graduate of Newman Grove High School and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and had been an insurance agent in Newman Grove since 1981.
With Newman Grove Fire and Rescue, he held certifications in Firefighter 1 and EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). He served as a co-captain from the mid-1990s through present. He was Fire Chief from 2011-2021 and held various other positions through the years, and was recently recognized for 40 years of service to the department and was still an active member at the time of his death.
The funeral service was held at the Boone County Event Center, Albion, followed by the procession to Newman Grove and burial in Hope Cemetery.
At the interment, fire fighters participated in the ceremonial ringing of the bell, which is traditional at a firefighter’s funeral. Also, a special feature was the playing of bagpipes at the interment service.
Firefighters from across the area traveled to the funeral service and interment to pay their respects.
Fire trucks lined up at Hope Cemetery in tribute to Craig Lilja.