Liz Boshardy packed a lot of life into her 29 years. She was a ballet dancer, then a data scientist. She married her high school sweetheart. She visited Nepal and the Galapagos Islands. She went dog-sledding in Norway and whale-watching in Hawaii. She had a promising career at Trunk Club, one of Chicago’s most prominent startups, now owned by Nordstrom. She supported charitable causes. She was expecting a daughter in two months.
She had the right of way and was crossing a street in River North last week when a truck hit and killed her. Rescuers reached the scene almost immediately, and doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital delivered her premature baby girl. Tiny Hannah spent the four days of her life in neonatal intensive care, with her father, Michael Boshardy, reading books to her, before dying this weekend, reports Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas of the Tribune.
“We expected her to just have the world at her fingertips,” Michael Boshardy said Sunday of his daughter.
Sudden death at an inflection point in any young life seems especially cruel, an almost unfathomable turning of the tables. In a moment, this family was hurtled from contemplating a baby registry to an obituary.
Michael Boshardy looks awestruck and adoring in wedding photos from 2017, like he knew he was a lucky man to have found Liz and enjoyed years with her. That’s still true.
For Chicago, new tragedies hold echoes of others. Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, nine months pregnant, strangled to death at 19 just months ago. Popular cycling activist and Groupon employee Bobby Cann, 26, riding a bike home from work, hit and killed by a drunk driver in 2013.
The driver of the truck that killed Boshardy was charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian, and police have said it appears to have been a “very, very tragic accident.”
From a broader perspective, it remains true that pedestrian deaths were up last year nationwide. City planners, traffic engineers and law enforcement officers can help make walking safer. One recent change: In Illinois, any use of a mobile phone while driving is now illegal. Drivers must pay heed. They own the fate of strangers for a brief moment as their paths cross.
Liz Boshardy wasn’t given the gift of years, but we should all live so fully and be remembered so well. Her husband shared the lessons in how she approached her days. “Her passion was to try to experience as much of life as possible,” he said. “She never let herself say no to something that could enrich her life.”