Merced County has been most fortunate in the class of business and professional men who have chosen to come here and establish their homes and business careers. The fertile valley of the San Joaquin is today the background for many thriving community centers, and the business and professional offices, as well as the mercantile establishments, are equal to any like communities in the United States, long famous for its cities, developed from what were formerly “country towns,” but now ranking with the larger metropolis in point of wealth and convenience. That this is due to the caliber and work of the men who have lived and been identified with the towns for the past decade or two, goes without saying, and is a lasting monument to their individuality. Among these in Merced we find Dr. Walter E. Lilley, born in Portland, Chautauqua County, N. Y., November 5, 1868, the son of Abner Lilley, also a native of that State. After finishing his preliminary education, Dr. Lilley attended the Baltimore Medical College, from which institution he graduated in 1894 with his degree of M. D. He practiced in Findley’s Lake, N. Y., and later in Barnard, Windsor County, Vt. In 1899, he came out West and located in Merced, and has ever since that date been prominent in the medical fraternity of the city and county. He is county physician of Merced County, in charge of the County Hospital, in addition to his private practice, and has built up a most enviable reputation as a conscientious and able doctor of humanity. He is past president of the San Joaquin Medical Society, serving twice in that office, and is also past president of the Merced County Medical Society; a member of the State Medical Society and the National Medical” Association; and surgeon for the Santa Fe and Yosemite Valley railways.
The marriage of Dr. Lilley, occurring at Mayville, Chautauqua County, N. Y., united him with Mabel Crosgrove, a native of that city, and two sons have blessed their union: Harold, a graduate of St. Mary’s College, Oakland, now engaged in fig culture; and Ivan, a graduate of the University of California, and now a member of the firm of Lilley and Stribling, nurserymen. Prominent in the financial and civic life of his community, as well as professionally, Dr. Lilley is a director in the Farmers and Merchants National Bank of Merced; he is a member of the Merced Rotary Club; belongs to the Merced Lodge No. 1240, B. P. O. E.; and is a Mason of high standing, a member of Merced Lodge No. 99, F. & A. M., and all branches, including Aahmes Shrine, of Oakland. As dean of the practicing M. D.’s of Merced County, and a man learned in his profession both through practical experience and scientific knowledge, Dr. Lilley is held in high esteem by the entire county, and by his friends and business associates, who have found him to be relied upon at all times when the greater good of Merced and Merced County were in question, doing all in his power to advance the civic, economic and educational life of his district. His opportunities for public welfare work have been many, and have been taken advantage of unostentatiously and with a true regard for humanity. It is such men as this who have helped build up our communities, and now stand with their shoulders to the wheel to help tide over any temporary difficulties and make the way clear for posterity.
Source: Outcalt, John. A history of Merced County, California : with a biographical review of the leading men and women of the county who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present; Los Angeles, Calif. : Historic Record Company, 1925.