Lilli Pierce, 9th Grade, Autumn '99
Cape Coral High School

Lillian Marie Pierce was born in Denver, CO at University Hospital on May 11, 1985.

Lilli, as she liked to be called, spent her earliest years with her parents in Summit County, CO, and then Austin, TX. The family returned to Colorado in 1993 and Lilli made many friends in Summit County as well as in the Denver area. She attended Dillon Community Church, and was a regular member of the church's Tuff-J group. She excelled in school, receiving many awards for scholarship, and particularly enjoyed biology, Spanish, and drama; she had a flair for creative writing. Camp Woodbine Ranch in Sedalia, CO, was a favorite place, and Lilli attended every summer for five years. She looked forward to seeing her friends there in the summer of 2000, and talked of someday becoming a camp counselor. In 1999 she played the part of Ozma in the Summit Middle School's production, "Ozma of Oz." In July of 1999 Lilli moved with her parents to Cape Coral, FL, where she attended Cape Coral High School and made many friends. Activities she enjoyed were writing poetry, listening to her favorite band, No Doubt, engaging in stunts with her skateboard, and bodysurfing in the waves of the ocean.

On the evening of Friday, November 12, Lilli was struck by a car while crossing Del Prado Blvd. She died at Cape Coral Hospital.

She is survived by her mother and father, Judith Ann Pierce and David Dell Pierce Jr. of Cape Coral, FL; her grandmother, Nancy Phetteplace, of Silt, CO; her grandparents, David and Rita Pierce of Dillon, CO; her uncle, Lyle Phetteplace, of Denver, CO; her aunt, Virginia Pierce, of Oregon, WI; and her uncle, Matthew Pierce, of Alamosa, CO.

A memorial service was held Wednesday, November 17, 3:00 p.m., at Christian Life Fellowship, 1629 SE 47th Street, in Cape Coral. Pastor David Wright was guided by the Lord to say the right things at the right time, and he and his wife sang clearly and truly. Lilli's maternal grandmother, Nancy Phetteplace, and her paternal grandfather, Dave Pierce, gave moving tributes to Lilli. Several students from Cape Coral High School spoke fondly of Lilli, and some read poems. At the end of the memorial the Cape Coral High School JROTC performed a drill in Lilli's honor. The funeral service, held at 3:30 p.m. Friday, November 19, at the Dillon Community Church, Dillon, CO, was piloted by God through Pastor Brian Post, and through pianist Barry Nease and gospel-singer Verne Bullock. Lyle Phetteplace and Nancy Phetteplace gave spirit-filled tributes. Grandfather Dave Pierce read the 21st Psalm with as much feeling as it has ever been given. Mark R., 16, of Breckenridge, CO, stood at the podium and brought laughter to the gathering as he reminisced about Lilli and one of her grand schemes: her notion to replace the sun with a gigantic light bulb. Lilli's body was then laid to rest in the Dillon Cemetery, which, under purple clouds, overlooked the crisp waves of Dillon reservoir.

Lilli Pierce, 8th Grade, 1998
Summit Middle School
Frisco, Colorado

The Fort Myers News Press, Monday, November 15, 1999
Cape Coral

Girl's dream was to study ocean science
14-year-old's life cut short on street

By Sharon Turco [modified by David Pierce]

Fourteen-year-old Lillian Pierce, who dreamed of becoming a biologist, was glad to be close to the ocean again when her family moved from Silverthorne, CO to Cape Coral, FL. The Cape Coral High School freshman excelled in biology, but she'll never realize her dream. Lilli, as she liked to be called, died Friday night after being struck by a car while trying to cross busy Del Prado Boulevard.

"Even though she missed her many Summit County friends," said her mother, Judy Pierce, "she really wanted to move here. I'm glad she got to be close to the ocean."

Judy Pierce and her husband, David Pierce Jr., said Lilli's friends have been a comfort as they prepare for their only child's funeral.

"The three of us were a team," David Pierce said. "We were very close, very tight. A large part of me is gone now."

Cape Coral residents have complained for years about speeding on Del Prado Boulevard.

Police say Lilli was trying to run across the six-lane intersection near Coralwood Shopping Center at Southeast 22nd Terrace when she was struck by a 1981 Datsun driven by Michelle N., 18, of Cape Coral. Three boys crossing with Lilli stopped in the median and weren't hurt.

"She made it all the way across until the very last lane," police spokesman Angelo Bitsis said Friday.

Lilli was taken to Cape Coral Hospital, where she died of head injuries.

The Pierce family moved to the Cape in July after reading an article about the city in Money Magazine that listed the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area as a great place to live.

"We made the decision together," David Pierce Jr. said. "We wanted a fresh start."

The Pierces were saving money to buy a home, something they were reluctant to do in Colorado because of the high cost of living, David Pierce Jr. said.

"It was hard for Lilli to leave her friends in Summit County, Colorado," David said, "but she made friends easily, and soon had all the malls and cool hangout places for her playground. We were looking forward to so much."

Lilli's grandmother, Nancy Phetteplace of Glenwood, CO, was in Cape Coral on Sunday helping the Pierces deal with the loss of their daughter. They talked of a girl who loved to laugh.

Before leaving Colorado, Lilli starred in the Summit Middle School play "Ozma of Oz."

"She loved drama," her father said. "It was one of the ways she found to express herself. She wasn't a cheerleader, wasn't a sports star," David Pierce Jr. said. "But many people loved her. She touched hearts with her smile and her offbeat charm."

Lilli Pierce, 7th Grade, 1997
Summit Middle School
Frisco, Colorado

The Cape Coral Daily Breeze, Thursday, November 18, 1999

Family and friends gather to celebrate teen's life

By Valli Covert Finney [modified by David Pierce]

She couldn't hate anybody and was always smiling. That is what friends of Lillian Marie "Lilli" Pierce said about her shortly before the memorial service Wednesday to celebrate her life -- and death.

Lilli died Friday while attempting to cross Del Prado Boulevard at Southeast 22nd Street and was struck by a car.

Even though she lived in Cape Coral only a short period of time -- since July -- many teenagers, dressed in anything from Gothic clothing to JROTC uniforms, gathered at Christian Life Fellowship to remember her.

"Lilli couldn't hate anybody," her friend Ashley Sp., 15, said.

Lilli's boyfriend, Lee G., also 15, wore a T-shirt with her date of birth -- May 11, 1985 -- and her date of death -- November 12, 1999 -- on it to her memorial service. The T-shirt also had her picture on it.

"Lilli liked listening to a wide variety of music, but her favorite group was No Doubt," Lee said. "She just liked to hang out."

Lilli wasn't one to shun anybody.

"I'd say, 'Don't talk to that person,'" Ashley said. "But she'd say, 'I don't care about my reputation.' She was a friend to all."

Lee said she always had a smile on her face, and many of her friends agreed with him as they began filing into the church to remember her.

Said her friend Justin K.: "She was just a happy camper."

Lilli with her bud Craig of Dillon, Colorado

Lilli and pal Asjhley R.
X-Fest in Naples, Florida, 1999

Pals Halston P., Nicky B., and Lilli
at Denver International Airport:
Improvised airplane maneuvers

Gone To Be With Jesus
Sung at Lilli's Memorial Service, 11/19/2000

Walkin' cross a highway, in the summer of her 14th. year,
Little did she know my friend, her time was almost here.
To meet her God in Glory, to see the Promised Land,
To hear the age old Story, being sung by the Heavenly band,
the Heavenly Band.

And we are left to wonder, in the mystery of it all.
Seldom do we understand, why one, so young, must fall.
But we will not be broken, by our thoughts of yesterday,
We'll put our faith and hope in God, and keep livin; for Him, day by day,
Day by Day.

Cause, walkin' cross a highway, in the summer of her 14th. year,
We all know the story now, our friend is no longer here.
She's Gone To Be With Jesus, in the place where the children play,
And she'll be there to greet us, when we finally meet our day,
When we meet our day, oh, I'm on my way!

So rest now weary mamma, and papa, you stand so tall.
For you have raised a child to God, a blessing to us all.
And we, we will all be sorry, to see her face no more,
But now we've got a good reason, it makes Heaven worth livin' for,
Worth livin' for...She'll be there at the door, whoa, it' s worth livin' for.
(whisper) He's worth livin' for....

Verne Bullock, Copyright 1977, Uriah Music Company, Elizabeth, Colorado


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Text and photos Copyright 2001, 2009 by David D. Pierce, Jr.
Thanks to Judy Ebbe for designing Lilli Pierce name-plate.