BELFAST — Lilias Hollins Outerbridge died Wednesday, March 24, 2021, at the age of 86. She died in her sleep at home with family at her bedside.

Lilias was born in New York City Nov. 27, 1934. She was the daughter of Elizabeth Elkins and Harry Hollins, and grew up with her five siblings in New York, New Jersey and Maine.

While she was always calm and thoughtful, she also had an intrepid streak from a young age. In 1954, when she was 20, she began volunteering with the American Friends Service Committee. She first headed west to help on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico, and then ventured east the following year. Taking a steam ship from Canada, a train through Europe, and sleeping on an open deck in the Mediterranean Sea, she journeyed to Lebanon and Israel to help build roads.

In January 1958, Lilias graduated from New York University with a degree in education, and the following month she married David Outerbridge. In 1960, they purchased an old farmhouse and three acres in Lewisboro, N.Y., where they started their family. In 1967, they moved with their four young sons to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and Lilias began her teaching career at The Day School (now Trevor Day School). In 1973, they moved the family to a plot of land they had purchased on 700 Acre Island in Penobscot Bay.

With a book entitled “How to Build a Log Cabin in the Woods,” a chainsaw, assorted tools, a 1940s Farmall H tractor, very little actual building experience and much help from friends and family, they built a one-room log cabin, where they lived for two years. They used wood stoves for heat and kerosene lamps for light. The boys were homeschooled during the first year and attended the Islesboro School in the second, which often entailed Lilias piloting them across the harbor in an old lobster boat. They had a milk cow, chickens, pigs, sheep and rabbits, and always dogs and cats. After watching his wife shift logs into place, David began to call her Crowbar Lil.

Lilias loved gardening and animals, and wherever possible surrounded herself with plants, pets and farm animals. She planted vegetable gardens, flower gardens (especially roses), butterfly gardens and gardens that attracted birds.

After two years on the island, they returned to New York City, where Lilias resumed teaching at The Day School and completed a master’s degree in special education at Bank Street College.

In 1979, the family moved back to Maine, and the town of Rockport. Lilias took a teaching job at Hope Elementary School. When they moved to Belfast some years later, Lilias got involved in local theater, both on stage and off, as board member and treasurer. In 2007, she received a commendation from the state of Maine for 20 years of dedication to community theater in Belfast.

Lilias is buried beside her husband on the family property on 700 Acre Island. She is survived by three siblings, Elizabeth Elliott, Harry Hollins and Brita Holmquist Bonechi; her four sons, Benoni, Oliver, Thomas and Josh Outerbridge; and seven grandchildren, Cay, Geronimo, Marco, Lincoln and Louis Outerbridge, and Emma and Elinor Outerbridge Waldron. She was predeceased by her husband of more than 50 years, David Outerbridge, and two of her siblings, Angel Braestrup and Evelina Kats.

Her family would like to extend their deepest thanks and gratitude to her caregivers, who added so much to her quality of life for years before her peaceful passing; to the caring staff of MaineHealth Care at Home; and to all the friends and family who made a special effort to brighten her days. She frequently expressed her gratitude for all of you.

She asked that any contributions in her memory be made to either Coastal Mountains Land Trust ( or Islesboro Islands Trust (

filed under: