Elizabeth died Oct. 11, 2018 at the Villa Marie Claire Hospice in Saddle River, N.J. She had battled a rare autoimmune disorder, Behcet’s disease, for half of her life. Three weeks prior to her passing, Elizabeth celebrated her 32nd birthday with her closest family and friends. She called it her “death party,” and planned an El Día de Los Muertos theme because she knew that the Mexican celebration honors the bonds with ancestors and acknowledges the eternal life given through powerful, loving relationships.
Originally from Mahwah, N.J., Elizabeth enjoyed playing in her high school marching band and performing in school musicals. At Princeton Elizabeth was a member of Butler College and Charter Club. She planned to major in anthropology, but her time on campus was cut short due to her illness. While at hospice, Elizabeth never faltered in her determination to live, doing what she could to maintain her physical, spiritual, and intellectual strength. Most of all, she devoted herself to others, always showing her appreciation for their care and visits.
Elizabeth is survived by her parents, William and Libby Ortiz, and her godchildren, Mason Brennan and Ella Elizabeth Northrup.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to a high school scholarship fund that has been set up in Elizabeth’s memory. The donations can be sent to Mahwah High School, with the funds marked for the Elizabeth Ortiz Pride and Spirit Award.