New York Times Portraits of Grief

Lillian Frederick

At Aon Corporation , where Lillian Frederick was an administrative assistant, her colleagues heard only a few tales from the warm, serene woman who was an office presence, but hardly its social butterfly. They heard the reactions of Ms. Frederick, a native Manhattanite, after she and her husband, Henry Lambert, bought a house in Teaneck, N.J. Flowers had to be . . . planted? In the dirt? With all those slugs?

And they heard everything about her granddaughter, her son's child.

Because Ms. Frederick, 46, was modest, she never mentioned that she had served in the United States Navy and the Reserve. She didn't describe her church work: she had studied extensively so she could teach new worshipers at Greater Refuge Temple, a Pentecostal church that she attended three times a week.

Her mother, Mattie, whom Ms. Frederick visited often and fussed over, raised her six children in the church, but her daughter's faith grew stronger still. Mr. Lambert, to whom she was married for 14 years, said his sweet, joyous wife had a full life outside of church, too.

"We went bowling and had cookouts with her family in the backyard," he recalled. "When I was sick, she stayed on my case and made sure I took my medicine. When she was sick, I worried about her. She was my pride and joy."