Remembering Lily

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

"She was playful and had an infectious giggle that would just make you laugh forever."

She was five and half year old Lily Stellanger of Leslie. A tiny spitfire, she passed away from a massive head injury sustained in a car accident. But in her tragic death came the gift of life.

"They've already matched two of her kidneys and her liver," says her paternal grandmother Margo Steadman-Jersey.

Lily's parents, Joshua and Gwyneth Stellanger, made the difficult decision after taking their daughter off of life support Saturday morning.

"They felt it was the one last great thing Lily could do in her little short life."

The accident happened Thursday night and is still under investigation. Mason police say the Stellanger's vehicle was rear-ended at full speed on Kipp Road near the 127 exit ramp. Lily, along with her one and half year old brother Merrick, suffered serious injuries. Merrick was discharged from the Sparrow Hospital Saturday night.

"They were real pals whether she was pushing him down or giving him a hug. She loved her brother and he's going to miss her."

As will the rest of those who knew the little girl. For all that's left now, are the memories.

"Her beauty. Her bright eyes. Her dimples when she smiled. Her gorgeous black hair and her energy, her loving, incredible energy."

That will live on in the lives that she saved.

Her family has set up the "Lily Fund" at area National City Bank branches. It will go towards helping with medical and funeral expenses. Donations can also be made to the Gift of Life Donor Program in honor of Lily.


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  • by Bryn Blackwell Location: Lansing on Apr 18, 2007 at 09:06 PM
    Josh, Gwyneth and little Merrick, I'm so sorry to hear of the tragic loss of your lovely Lily. She is a beautiful bundle of energy and she will live on because of her gift. Her light will never fade, in your hearts, and in the lives of those she has now touched. It will shine on. May you have peace in knowing that others will carry on with her help. To Steve, from Leslie, who helped at the scene. Bless you, and may you have peaceful sleep knowing that you did what you could, and it was invaluable to a family in need.
  • by Cindy Location: St Johns MI on Apr 18, 2007 at 03:41 PM
    Josh & Gwyneth I cannot imagine what you and your family are going through, having small grandchildren of my own, I just can not imagine your pain. You are such a giving family; to have donated Lily's organs is the ultimate gift anyone can give to others. Lily would be very proud of you. Hopefully knowing that some parts of Lily is still living on. I pray that God’s blessing and comfort will be with you during this difficult time.
  • by Francine Location: Honesdale, PA on Apr 18, 2007 at 07:19 AM
    God Bless you and keep you in such a terrible loss. You are the most compasionate and loving family I have heard of in such a long time. I also have a 5 1/2 year old daughter. May your pain be lessened by the love of God. You have done a great deed in donating Lily's organs and in attempting to not prosecute the woman that took her life. I am sure the forever pain she will feel is also punishment enough for any mother. God be with all of you. You are in our hearts and prayers.
  • by M Location: Arkansas on Apr 18, 2007 at 07:02 AM
    What a beautiful child! And what a beautiful gesture on your part, I know Lily's spirit will live on through those who love her.
  • by Julia Location: New York on Apr 18, 2007 at 05:43 AM
    Our whole family mourns with the Stellanger family. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to them. Lily gave an amazing gift to so many others. We are all thinking of you and praying for you.
  • by wendy Location: swindon,england on Apr 18, 2007 at 04:25 AM
    i only knew about lily through her maternal grandmother toni and aunt glenda. it is very sad when you lose a child, but to lose one so young is very tragic.my thought and prayers go to all her family at this time.
  • by vern Location: howell on Apr 17, 2007 at 04:37 PM
    No words can lesson your loss. I'm truly sorry that your family has to endure such a terrible pain. Let the love of your family and friends help you through. I respect and hope I would have the courage to do as you have by giving others the gift of life during this time of great sorrow. May what ever powers that be help you through these days. You are in all our thoughts.
  • by Julie C - Homeschoolers Location: Kingsley PA on Apr 17, 2007 at 12:10 PM
    Joshua, Gwyneth and Merrick, there are no words to make what happened to Lily okay. Know you are in our heats, and Lily's spark lives on through others. She matters.
  • by SHUSTER'S Location: LANSING/LESLIE on Apr 17, 2007 at 05:30 AM
    You are in our hearts & thoughts.
  • by Marie Location: Akron on Apr 16, 2007 at 04:05 PM
    Though I do not know you, I heard about the accident from our homeschooling group on yahoo. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm praying for strength for your family and that Merrick heals quickly. God bless.
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