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Tilly Boulanger's life to be celebrated June 1

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Posted on May 20, 2019 |
By John Flowers



MIDDLEBURY — Tilly Boulanger, the 9-year-old Weybridge girl who lost her life after being struck by a car on Weybridge Road on April 25, will be celebrated at a special gathering at Middlebury College’s Snow Bowl in Ripton during the afternoon of June 1.

The young girl’s parents confirmed that news — with more details to come — through a recent post on the Caringbridge website.

Tilly touched many lives during her short life, and has even saved a few since her tragic passing.

“We wanted to share with you that our Tilly saved at least four lives yesterday with the donation of her heart, liver, lungs and kidneys,” her mom, Stacey Rainey, wrote in an April 30 post on the Caringbridge site. “We are so very proud of her and her legacy that now lives on in the transplant recipients and their families. We miss her beyond measure.”

The Rainey-Boulanger family has received condolence messages from scores of people in Addison County and beyond. The family has asked that contributions in her name be made to Weybridge Elementary Library. Tilly, a voracious reader, was a student at the school. She will lie in rest at the cemetery across the street from the school, within view of the library.

“Tilly loved to read, and was never without a book (or three) and could spend hours in a bookstore,” Rainey wrote of her daughter. “We have countless pictures of her asleep in bed with a book still open in her hands.”

Those who wish to contribute to the library should contact Librarian Megan Sutton, c/o Friends of Weybridge Elementary/ACSD, 210 Quaker Village Road, Weybridge, VT 06753. Tax ID 81-4257106.

Weybridge School officials won’t specify the current tally of library donations made thus far in Tilly’s name, but Sutton said the amount has been substantial. She added some students — particularly in Salisbury and Weybridge — have been independently fundraising for the Weybridge School Library as a way of honoring Tilly. And a Middlebury College library official recently donated three children’s books to the Weybridge effort, according to Sutton.

In a more recent Caringbridge post, dated May 10, Tilly’s family gave thanks the community for its outpouring of support in wake of the tragedy.

“We have been overwhelmed by the kindness so many of you have shown us over the past weeks,” reads the post, signed by mother Stacey, father Cort Boulanger, and Tilly’s siblings Callan and Mac.

“This community that we always knew was special, that loved Tilly, is now helping us through every day with meals and notes and grocery trips and a million other gestures that make moving forward possible,” the post continues. “For this we are forever grateful. Texts and calls and check ins from our friends and family outside Vermont have been a significant support as well, thank you all.”

The family is encouraging well-wishers to share pictures and/or Tilly stories through Caringbridge or via email, in preparation for the June 1 event.

“In the meantime, on days when you are looking for a little way to remember Tilly and her independent spirit, we suggest wearing mismatched socks,” reads the post. “This was her norm and knowing that other folks are honoring her that way would bring a bright smile and a knowing raised eyebrow to her wise face.”

The Addison Central School District board took some time to honor Tilly at the beginning of its May 13 meeting.

“I wanted to take a moment, on behalf of the board, to express our sincerest condolences to the family — including to our own board member, Mary Cullinane, to whom Tilly was really like a daughter,” board Chairman Peter Conlon said. “I also want to extend the board’s sincerest gratitude to our school community, which responded so professionally, so caringly, when they themselves were dealing with their own grief.

“A tragedy like this cannot be forgotten,” he added, “but there really is solace in the way the community responds. And the response to this tragedy has been that of a close family that is much larger than anyone imagined.”

The Caringbridge site honoring Tilly’s memory is at caringbridge.org/visit/tillyboulanger/journal.

Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]

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