TROY — A bright pink butterfly wreath was placed in the calm harbor waters in remembrance of the Troy teen who drowned at Treasure Island Park a week ago.
On Tuesday evening, approximately 100 people attended 13-year-old Lillian May’s memorial service held at Treasure Island Park’s amphitheater, the same park where the young girl spent her last moments as a carefree teen enjoying friends at the park on a warm summer evening.
May passed away at Upper Valley Medical Center around 11 p.m. July 18, after she was pulled from the harbor area, where she had been swimming with friends around dusk.
Lilly’s mother Kate May said her daughter had an impact on the entire community and will leave a legacy for years to come.
“She was a very strong-willed individual. She had a very, very, very beautiful family,” she said. “It was just her time … we are not going to take this as a negative thing. We are going to take this experience and we are going to educate the rest of the world. There are a lot of things that could have prevented something like this … so let’s educate each other, let’s share and let’s grow as a community and learn from this tragic accident and how to pay it forward in Lilly’s honor. And maybe we can prevent something like this from happening again, not only in this community but the other couple communities that we live in.”
May’s mother had recently moved from Troy to Wisconsin for a new job opportunity. Lilly, who completed seventh grade at Troy Junior High, had stayed in Troy with her grandfather when the incident had occurred.
Pastor Terry Gray led the memorial service and prayer service, including two special trees planted in her memory.
Gray shared how the weeping willow tree is significant to the family, which mirrors a willow tree planted at a family property in Illinois that Lilly’s family has enjoyed for years.
The family tied a purple bow around the tree in memory of Lily, which was later blessed in prayer by those in attendance. The willow tree is located to the east of the Treasure Island amphitheater.
A silver maple tree, donated by the Troy Police Department, was also planted in Lily’s memory. The tree will be planted near the walking loop of the park.
Friends, including various church members, shared stories of Lilly and her positive, bubbly attitude and outlook on life.
Delaney Davis, 14, played softball with Lilly. Davis remembered her as a resilient, strong willed athlete who always had a sunny demeanor. Davis’ mother, Amanda Medley, helped organized the memorial service at the park on Tuesday.
“She was always happy in the dugout. She always had a smile on her face,” she said. “She got along with everybody really well. Her laugh was very contagious. In class or at softball, if she was having fun and laughing, everybody was having fun and laughing, too. She was really strong.”
Medley said she felt compelled to do something for the family while they were in Troy for the services and memorial.
“We wanted to do something special for Lilly for her family and friends to remember her by,” Medley said.
May had been swimming in the harbor area with some friends prior to the incident. The girls were playing a “hide-and-go-seek” style game in the water when May went missing. Friends had initially thought May had left and gone home to her grandfather’s home on Lincoln Street. When she wasn’t there, they called 9-1-1.
Officials conducted a search of the dock area by scuba team investigators. The docks had been installed at the park several days prior to the incident. Last week, a crane was brought in to lift up the floating docks out of the water to be photographed by investigators. The area around the dock was estimated to be approximately 6 feet deep. No debris or other obstruction was found in or around the dock area, according to officials.
According to the Troy Police Department, the detective division is expected to have the official report complete by the end of the week. No foul play is suspected. The coroner’s preliminary report states Lilly’s cause of death is an apparent accidental drowning.
Treasure Island Park underwent nearly $1.7 million renovation, which was completed in 2016. The marina building, which overlooks the harbor area where the incident occurred, underwent a $1 million renovation. The space is occupied by a restaurant that opened last November.