A Short Life, Well Lived:
About Ally

Allison Willen, or Ally to all who knew her, had an extraordinary passion for life. Ally sought a deeper understanding of the world by connecting with people, animals, and nature in an authentic way.

She also had extraordinary compassion, rare in someone so young. Ally regularly volunteered her time and energy to organizations and causes aligned with her values, travelled internationally on service projects aligned to her world view, became a vegetarian, had a long-standing prison pen-pal, and found great joy and philosophic reflection in nature. With her boundless optimism and positivity, Ally made lasting friendships everywhere she went. 

Her love of travel and nature led her to New Zealand for a semester abroad at the University of Otago in Dunedin. In April 2015 while hiking through the Mount Aspiring National Park with friends, Ally was caught on the trail as a bad storm turned the magnificent landscape into a horrible nightmare. Her life was lost to nature on that mountainside trail, far from home but exactly where she wanted to be. Ally was just 20 years old.

The posts below start to describe this amazing person, and the profound impact she had in her life and death.

“…We all know the extraordinary person she was. In her short 20 years, she experienced more of life than most of us do in two lifetimes. In her brief span, she did more good for more people than most people three times her age.”

– Rabbi Ed Rosenthal