Photography

Lily Sellers

August 13, 1994 ~ September 6, 2021 (age 27)

Obituary

Lily Sellers, age 27, of Asheville, North Carolina, was killed in a traffic accident on September 6, 2021. The loss of Lily is deeply mourned by her parents, Sarah and Simon, her siblings Jake, Madeleine, and Luke, and her many aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and colleagues. 

Lily was born on August 13, 1994. She spent her youngest years growing up on Star Lake in Hawthorne, FL, where, with her sister and brothers, she explored nature and all its beauty: swimming, catching and releasing fish and lizards, viewing sunsets, gazing at the stars and the moon, and occasionally seeing a space shuttle launch under the dark skies of her family’s dock.  She loved math and science, and, at the young age of 10, reading over her mother’s shoulder as she proofread a patient-organization white paper, Lily corrected a reported statistic that would be used for briefing congressional staffers.  In solitude, she loved reading, problem-solving, and puzzles; socially, she loved cutting loose with crowds of kids in her Tower Lakes, IL neighborhood. 

Lily graduated from Barrington High School and completed her BS degree with dual majors in computer science and statistics at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.  At UI, Lily found a home within the hackathon community, where she led the hackers’ Facebook Group Cirque du Twerque and served as a director of WCS, an organization that sponsored events to inspire young girls to pursue an education in computer science. The relationships Lily fostered on and off campus stand today as a testament to Lily’s ability to bring people together and to help them through difficult times.

After graduation, Lily moved to the Bay Area, where she worked in the national, commercial and personal cybersecurity fields. In her leisure time, she enjoyed music, salsa dancing and gaming over her Twitch channel, where she streamed video games like League of Legends for her friends and followers to watch, often with her beloved cats, Kiki and Espeon at her side. 

Lily left us far too early.  In the brief time she was with us, she let her life speak intimately to her family and friends, and publicly as an advocate for gender, ethnic and racial justice.  Her pure heart and loving character remain illuminous, as captured in a spontaneous moment following the El Paso, TX gun violence and tragic deaths in 2019.   While walking with her mother to an ice cream shop in Highwood, IL, Lily was asked by a young Hispanic boy if he could interview her.  The boy held out his cell phone and asked a heart-wrenching question: “why do you hate me?”  Without blinking an eye, Lily dropped to her knees with eyes meeting his and arms stretched wide. “I don’t hate you, I love you,” she said.  The boy’s eyes lit up, he grinned and blushed, and thanked her for the interview.

Memorial donations in honor of Lily may be made to Amnesty International.

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Memorial Tree
A Memorial Tree was planted for Lily

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