Lillian was born in Orillia, Ontario, the first of Ken and Betty Oakley's five children. Music played a large role in her family life and she soon added painting to her interests.
In 1985 Lillian helped establish the Village Emporium in Whitney and two years later bought the Wilno Craft Gallery near Barry's Bay.
During her sixteen years there Lillian transformed the shop into a thriving business featuring her own paintings and the work of many local artists and artisans. The Ontario tour guide 'Daytripper 3" called this store the 'gem of the Ottawa Valley' and Lillian developed a loyal following both for the gallery and for her work as an artist.
Self-taught, Lillian paints in many styles including landscape, portrait, still-life and folk art using oils, water colours, acrylics and pen & ink.
On entering the store in Ormsby you may notice the gentle sounds of a women's vocal trio on the Mercantile's sound system. This highlights another of Lillian's talents... her beautiful singing voice. With her longtime friends Margaret Hughes and Dorothy Wilson, Lillian has been singing for 25 years in the group 'Close Enough' (so named for their rehearsal work ethic...) They have released 3 CDs, to very enthusiastic response, including 'Album Of The Year' from the Ottawa Valley Music Association for their offering, 'Seasonings'.