WBFT TV's Mark Lilley succumbs

Jan. 15, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

Mark Lilley's death Sunday afternoon left a void in the hearts of many of locals whose lives he touched — as well as friends and family who remembered him as giving and devoted.

Lilley was the general manager of WBFT TV 46 in Sanford and performed virtually every job or task imaginable for the local public access station. A major fund-raiser was held for him late last year that raised more than $50,000 to help cover his medical bills related to a complicated surgery involving several organ transplants, as well as his family's living expenses when they traveled to be with him at the Duke University Hospital.

It was there he died, according to a message his wife, Kim, posted on Facebook, writing: "He left with a tear in his eye, and I knew he had met our Savior. What a sweet and wonderful day — Sunday — to leave this life on earth to be with the Heavenly Father. What a legacy he leaves for us to follow."

A viewing will be held tonight at Miller-Boles Funeral Home, which is assisting the family, starting at 6 p.m. For further details, see Lilley's obituary in today's edition of The Herald.

Tim Copas, who organized the fund-raiser, said he lost a friend "who would you give you the shirt off his back" and always wanted to be filming things in Lee County that would affect locals — no matter the subject, and no matter if he was getting paid to do it or not.

"As far as the community goes, he was always there to try to cover whatever went on in Sanford in the last 10 years," he said. Copas noted that even while Lilley was in and out of the hospital this past year, he was working with the school system to start a program to help students access a wireless network even if they don't have Internet at home, offering use of the TV station's antenna and acting as a middleman between Lee County Schools and his contacts in the technology industry.

"He was my friend, I'll miss him, and its a sad day for Sanford," Copas said.