Elliot Lilien, 84

June 17, 2023

Elliot Lilien, age 84, of Carlisle, MA passed away during the evening of June 13, 2023. He is survived by his loving wife and best friend, Nancy (Pierce) Lilien.  

Elliot was born in Maplewood, New Jersey, attended public schools there and then matriculated at the University of Chicago and Columbia Law School where he received his law degree. Bored with the life of an attorney he attended Harvard University to receive his Masters in Art and Teaching and began his illustrious career at Concord-Carlisle High School.

“Mister” Lilien was a much loved Social Studies teacher at Concord-Carlisle High School for over 35 years from 1965 to 2000. This is but a small part of the contribution Elliot made to the lives of the students, parents, teachers and staff at CCHS. For years he was the head coach of its fencing team, at one point leading his charges to over 120 straight victories against both high school and college teams up and down the East Coast of the United States. He went on to coach at Brown University for 6 years and Harvard University for one. He coached the CCHS tennis team and won state championships. He was inducted into the Concord-Carlisle Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. Not content with success in the athletic life of the high school he formed CCHS’s Academic Bowl team and led them to state championships as well.

Elliot was one of the Founders of the Concord-Carlisle Teachers Association and served as its president at one time or another for over 10 years. During that same era he was the Department Chairperson of the Social Studies Department intermittently for a decade. His classes were renowned for their intellectual brilliance, rigor and good humor. One former student who received a Distinguished Graduate Award recounted at the ceremony that he never had to take notes during the introductory lectures he took in his history, political science and philosophy classes at Harvard, Oxford (he was a Rhodes Scholar) and Yale Law School because “Mr. Lilien had already taught him.”

What an extraordinary legacy he has left for all who had the pleasure of his company. He was a legend in his own time and CCHS and the towns of Concord and Carlisle may never see his like again.

In addition to his wife, Nancy, he is survived by a sister, Martha Greene, along with several extended family members and friends. He was also the brother of the late Jeffrey Lilien.  

All are welcome to celebrate Elliot’s life during a memorial gathering in Union Hall at First Religious Society, 27 School Street, Carlisle, on Wednesday, June 21st from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.  In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to 

The Scholarship Fund of Concord and Carlisle, 34 Walden Street, Unit 217, Concord, MA 01742 (www.thescholarshipfundofcc.org).  

Arrangements are entrusted to Dee Funeral Home & Cremation Service of Concord.  To share a memory or to offer a condolence in his online guestbook, please visit www.DeeFuneralHome.com.