Oakboro’s ambassador, friend to many Ted Lilly dies

Published 11:58 am Wednesday, October 20, 2021

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Whether a longtime resident or just someone who stopped for a bite to eat at Wayside or to take in the Fourth of July parade, anyone who has spent time in Oakboro has likely met Ted Lilly, also known as the town’s ambassador.

Wearing his trademark bright yellow safety vest, Lilly regularly patrolled the streets, walking in and out of the local businesses just to say hello. And he made people feel special.

After bringing joy to so many people over the years, Lilly unexpectedly died on Tuesday, according to a Facebook post from Police Chief T.J. Smith, who was good friends with Lilly.

Smith posted Tuesday that at 4:47 p.m., “the most amazing, beautiful soul I’ve ever had the privilege to have in my life has graduated life and has gone to be with Jesus today.”

Smith’s post, which featured several pictures of him and Lilly, has already garnered more than 330 comments and has been shared almost 180 times. Many people posted about what Lilly meant to them.

“Ted was a shining example of God’s love,” wrote Kathy Horne. “He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.”

“I will forever remember Ted, he was family to so many and he was everyone’s Angel here on earth,” wrote Tarika Burr.

This is a developing story and will be updated with comments from Oakboro officials.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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