Two weeks after celebrating her 56th wedding anniversary at the Mews restaurant, Lieselotte Kathe Vinther, known as Lilo, of Provincetown died peacefully on Jan. 12, 2023 at Portsmouth Regional Hospital in New Hampshire, surrounded by loved ones. The cause of death, confirmed by her daughter Michele, was a massive stroke. Lilo was 80.
The youngest of four children of George and Katharina (Röth) Oberst, Lilo was born on April 30, 1942. She grew up in Weinheim, in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz, which borders Luxembourg.
Lilo’s husband, Gordon, said that when her father spoke out against Hitler, his neighbors turned him in. He was arrested and put on a train with a Red Cross symbol painted on it. He was killed when the train was bombed. Lilo never met him.
Lilo’s mother lived a few years longer, spending her last years in a sanitorium. As a young child, Lilo had to travel by train to visit her. Katharina died when Lilo was in her early teens.
Thereafter Lilo was raised by her aunt. Living in the privation of the immediate postwar years in Germany, she nonetheless managed to earn a secretarial certificate before she left to work as an au pair for a family in Massachusetts when she was 19.
Lilo’s older sister had preceded her to the U.S., also to work as an au pair, for a family descended from James A. Garfield, the U.S. president assassinated in 1881. When Lilo’s sister returned to Germany and married, Lilo assumed the position her sister had vacated. She knew little English at the time.
Through a local German friend, she met Gordon A. Vinther, who was serving in the Army. They married on Dec. 28, 1966 and settled in Pepperell after Gordon’s discharge from active duty. While raising four children, Lilo also worked as a sales associate in the domestics department of Macy’s in Nashua, N.H.
“She was a really good mother,” Michele said. “She was devoted to my dad, and throughout her life she loved having her family around her.” She was especially close to her two daughters and four granddaughters. “She taught us all the importance of family,” Michele said.
Lilo was an excellent cook, and she made sure, Michele noted, “that the family had dinner together every day at six.” She also sustained her family ties in Germany, where she and Gordon visited as often as they could.
Around 1990 Lilo and Gordon began spending part of each summer in Provincetown and eventually bought a cottage near the Truro line. Lilo loved life in Provincetown, working in her garden that extended across the front of the house. She especially appreciated that she could walk to the bay beach, and she never tired of walking the narrow town lanes and absorbing the energy of Commercial Street during all the town celebrations.
Lilo also liked to knit and read, and she was especially happy to be near her close friends in her cottage community.
In addition to her husband, surviving family members include her children, Michele C. Kiersey of Hampton, N.H., Michael C. Vinther of Whitewright, Texas, Gordon A. Vinther Jr., of Kittery Point, Maine, and Daniela Miller and husband Scott of Winston-Salem, N.C.; grandchildren Thomas D. and Katrina Kiersey, Ellie Vinther, and Elisabeth and Lila Miller; many dear friends; and her beloved dog, Kai.
Visiting hours were held on Jan. 16 at the Remick & Gendron Funeral Home-Crematory in Hampton, N.H. The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a charity of one’s choice.
Visit RemickGendron.com to view Lilo’s memorial website and to sign her tribute wall.