Isabelle Maralys Wills

June 15, 1990 - September 20, 2023

06/15/1990 - 09/20/2023

Isabelle Maralys Wills was born on Friday, June 15th, 1990.
Her short passage into waiting arms was a bit less relaxed than she might have wanted. But arrive she did, robust and full-throated, if not entirely pleased with her maiden journey.

Isabelle reveled in her distinction as the ‘middlest’ of sisters Erica and Juliette — all born in a four year period. Always together as they grew, they would play endless games, often with dolls and dress-ups, in their rooms — and as well in the vast, open basement that was also theirs.

In their Westover yard they would climb their treehouse, bounce (or be bounced) dangerously high on their trampoline, swing on their swing set, and from time to time perform elaborate and emotional burial rites for the menagerie of creatures who had left for the pet world beyond.

With her sisters, Isabelle attended The Williams School. While the other two stayed through the 8th grade, she chose to enter Norfolk Collegiate School beginning with grade seven. There she spent the next six years, growing into adulthood, making lifelong friends, traveling, and steadily enlarging her world.

Although she would never call herself an athlete, Isabelle excelled in crew, and with her seven boatmates rowed in competitions near and far for years. Her team had one especially dramatic and demanding run in a regatta on the legendary Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.

After one year at Virginia Wesleyan University, she enrolled at the College of Charleston, from which she graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s in psychology. She always looked back at her years in that city, and her time at that school, with deep affection. She was quite proud of her degree.

Isabelle had a complex personality, with many layers to her being. She was an exquisitely sensitive soul, a devoted friend, and a kind and deep woman who would regularly tap into her endless reservoir of compassion for those who suffered.

Her smile was radiant beyond belief. Her hugs would strain your ligaments, even threaten to break your bones. Her laugh — a life force unto itself— would rattle all unmoored objects.

She loved the sea, and was often on its shores, both Atlantic and Pacific. She had a love for music and played the flute for years. She wrote prolifically, and throughout her life held on to all of her writings and all that was written to her. She couldn’t really spell, which concerned her not at all. She was cultivated in the arts, with a naturally refined aesthetic sense. If you wanted to create a thing of beauty, you would come to Isabelle.

Her understanding, and skillful use, of psychology could exasperate you. She knew it. Many times she would leave you in wonder (or perhaps a different emotion) at both the effectiveness of her methods, and her occasional sub-heavenly intentions.

She was tall, stunning, and elegant. She would fill a room with her presence. Like her mother, she could and did work tirelessly. She was no stranger to sweat and raw exertion.

Isabelle took on, and very nearly conquered, her anxiety, with decades-long determination, and intellectual investigation that was something to behold. She felt pain every bit as deeply as she offered love. She was very brave.

For those fortunate enough to have known her, Isabelle, in her inimitable way, changed the world. Close family, but also many faraway friends most of us never knew, called her Izzy. Every person is unique. She was too, only more so.

Isabelle Wills died on Wednesday morning, September 20th, 2023, at her home in St. Petersburg, Florida. She was 33 years old. Her passing was accidental.

She will always be with us.
She will live on in the hearts and minds of we who knew and loved her.
The sisters are forever three.

Isabelle is survived by her parents, Melanie and Kenneth Wills, her sisters, Erica Lee Wills Carpenter (Christian), and Juliette Marie Wills Trefzger (Michael), her nephew Knox Carpenter, her nieces Harper and Ronin Carpenter, and dozens of other family members, spanning four generations, in both Virginia and California.

The celebration of her life will be at the Wills Family Home, on Sunday, October 8th, at 2:00pm. Parking will be available at the Church of The Good Shepherd.

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Juliana Deacon
6 months ago

This was so eloquently and beautifully written and certainly captures the essence of her life which was certainly cut too short. I had the pleasure of meeting Isabelle about 5 months ago. We got very close the last few weeks up until her passing. I got to know her very intimately. She spoke so highly of her sisters but especially of her nephew and nieces who she clearly adored. She knew her faults and was committed to working thru them, this I know for certain. I am eternally grateful that the last few interactions we had we told each other we loved each other and she was always telling me how gracious she was of our friendship. I miss her dearly and wish I could have done more to help her find peace. I know she is at peace now and that she will be forever missed by her family and those of us who were lucky enough to meet her and call her a friend. My sincerest and deepest condolences to her entire family. May she rest in eternal peace. We love you Isabelle

Erin Sullivan
6 months ago

This is beautifully written. I did not know Izzy well – I went to elementary school with Juliette. I am so very sorry for your family’s loss. My deepest condolences.