The Story

I had the privilege of meeting Chad Lilly during the summer of 2006 when I was invited to go on a study abroad trip to Poland with the Political Science department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock via professor Jacek Lubecki.  I never have been, and never will be, a PoliSci major, but that’s a different story altogether.

The first time I ever met Chad was in the classroom one evening.  One night per week we were asked to come to class to watch movies that pertained to our upcoming adventure in a far away land.  This particular night we were to watch the first half of Schindler’s List.

The one thing that really pops out of my memory about that particular night is this…I had received word from my parents that my cat, Caleb, had died that day.  Those of you who really love your pets as family (Chad did) will understand how much pain losing a furry friend can cause.

So, now I find myself sitting outside of this class an exhausted, pitiful, and absolutely pathetic mess with rivers of tears flowing down my face, I hadn’t slept much over the past 48 hours, and I had just taken two of my finals that day.  Chad was the second person to arrive that night, which is surprising to me now, because Chad would always make his grand entrance at least 10 minutes late on most occasions LOL.

So, Chad Lilly walks up to this pathetic stranger, puts his arms around her shoulders, and says to her, “I don’t know what’s going on right now, and you don’t have to tell me, but let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”  Yep,  that’s Chad.  That was the moment that I realized that I had just a little more faith in Humanity.  I swear, I think that if superpowers were a reality, that the power of “happiness” may have been Chad’s.  He had this way of lighting up a room with his smile and his laugh and his playful personality and his wittiness.  When Chad came up to me that night and said what he said, all of the negative crap I had dealt with for the past two days just really didn’t seem to matter all that much anymore.

TRIP TO POLAND – Had a blast!!!!

3 WEEKS LATER … Back to life, back to reality.

Sometime shortly after Poland I found myself spending a WHOLE LOT of time in the Lilly’s garage with my now husband and Chad playing EverQuest II.  Those of you who knew us between 2006 and 2010 would know that the three of us, and even Sheets (Courtney), were geeking on Everquest as often as we could.

For years Chad came over to our apartment almost every single night (but not until he had dinner with his family and his workout) and he and Dietrich would jam to some music, watch their fave TV shows, watch movies, play video games with my son, and play with my daughter.  Chad really seemed to like kids.  I would always tease and call him my “son-in-law” because my daughter could never take her little eyes off of him if he was there.  If Uncle Chad was in the house, Miss Chloe was NOT going to go “night night,” and if given the opportunity, she would sit on the sofa next to him and just stare him down LOL.

Chad came over for the Super Bowl, New Year’s, after most family gatherings on Holidays, and just about every occasion that I can think of.  He was a groomsman in our wedding.  We knew Chad so well after all of those years that we thought of him as our brother (family)…our kids even called him Uncle Chad.

FAST FORWARD…just a little bit…

February 28, 2014:   I left work at 2:00 pm that day to help my friend Jessica get ready for her son’s (Noah) birthday party that night.  It was probably around 2:45 that afternoon when I got a text message from my husband saying that he thought Chad was dead.  Well, naturally, I didn’t believe that at all.  I asked for confirmation…only to get it.  D had it confirmed with Chad’s brother Keith.  I swear, I think my heart sank.  I was in complete and total shock, and probably even denial.  I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t cry, I could barely even think.  Wow!

I realized then just how special of a person he was and just how much my world would not be the same without him.  There is going to be a HUGE void there now.  Who was going to make us laugh like HE did?  Who was going to brighten the end of a crappy day or crappy situation like HE did?  Nobody…because there is absolutely no one who could ever replace a friend like him.  He treated his friends like family, and strangers like friends.

The Obituary

Chad James Lilly, 31, of Little Rock. Chad was born on January 18, 1983 in Troy, Michigan to Jimmy E. and Paulette Carlton Lilly. Chad departed his earthly home for his maker in heaven on February 28, 2014.

Chad grew up in Troy, MI, Philadelphia, PA, and Los Altos, CA before moving with his parents back to their hometown of Little Rock in 1993. Chad graduated from Little Rock Catholic High School and then attended UALR, including a summer’s study in Europe. While at Catholic High School, Chad played varsity football and basketball. He also played AAU youth baseball and basketball.

Chad is survived by his parents, brothers, Ryan A. Lilly (Dina) of Fayetteville and Keith D. Lilly of Little Rock; nephew, Connor Lilly and niece, Erika Butler, both of Fayetteville; grandmother, Catherine Lilly of Searcy; and a host of other family and friends.

Services will be Friday, March 7 at 3:00 p.m. at Little Rock Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Ct. (NW corner I-630 and Barrow Rd.), officiated by Rev. Greg Schick. Visitation will precede the service beginning at 2:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Wolfe Street Foundation, 1015 Louisiana Street, Little Rock, AR 72202 or the Kelly Foundation, Inc., 2801 W. Roosevelt Road, Little Rock, AR 72206.

 

https://i0.wp.com/lizduke.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/10418509_10100102256415326_7655748279363558849_n.jpg?fit=510%2C340https://i0.wp.com/lizduke.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/10418509_10100102256415326_7655748279363558849_n.jpg?resize=150%2C150Elizabeth DukeMemorials- Those We Have Loved and LostCHAD LILLY,memorial,MEMORIALSThe Story I had the privilege of meeting Chad Lilly during the summer of 2006 when I was invited to go on a study abroad trip to Poland with the Political Science department at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock via professor Jacek Lubecki.  I never have been, and...The world through the eyes of an artist ...