May 18, 1990-Jan. 15, 2018
Elizabeth "Lizzy" Lytle adored dogs and horses. The only things she loved more than animals were the members of her family, especially her 5-year-old daughter, Olivia Murphy.
Her efforts to learn more about horses and earn more money to support her daughter both came into play on Monday, when she died in a head-on automobile crash on Dysinger Road in the Town of Lockport. The Buffalo resident was 27.
Her mother, Patricia Hunt, described Ms. Lytle as an adventurous young woman who competed for years as a "barrel racer" in rodeos. Hunt said her daughter earned money by training and grooming horses for local owners and training youngsters to ride.
Ms. Lytle was on her way to an indoor riding facility in Middleport Monday evening when her car crossed the center traffic line and smashed into an oncoming vehicle. State Police said Ms. Lytle died at the scene. A driver in the other vehicle was treated for injuries described by police as non-life threatening.
"Lizzy was always trying to advance her skills with horses, so she could earn better money to support her daughter," Hunt said. "She was on her way out there to take lessons in horse jumping. We don’t know why she crossed the center line."
She said she and her family are devastated over the loss of a young woman who loved animals, worked hard and was "completely devoted" to her daughter.
"Lizzy had a special relationship with animals from the time she was a little girl. The more that a dog or horse was unwanted by other people, the more Lizzy would love that animal," Hunt said. "She saved her first, horse – a horse named Annie – when she was 12. Nobody else could ride Annie, but Annie would come to Lizzy and bow down in front of her."
For about seven years, ending when she was age 23, Ms. Lytle competed on horseback in high-speed "barrel races" at rodeos in the states of New York and North Carolina, her mother said. "She loved it, taking very tight turns around those barrels…but she had so many leg injuries and concussions, she had to quit," her mother said.
Ms. Lytle grew up in Lockport and Amherst. She graduated from Amherst High School and Erie County Community College, where she earned a degree in paralegal studies. She worked for the Frank LoTempio law firm in Buffalo for about two years, and she was thinking about going back to college to earn a bachelor's degree and then apply to law school.
"Then, this horrible thing happened," Hunt said.
Ms. Lytle was also active with the Parent Teachers Association at Elmwood Village Charter School, where her daughter attends. Friends have set up the Olivia Murphy Education Foundation at www.youcaring.com to raise funds for Olivia's education.
She said Ms. Lytle was also devoted to her two sisters, Megan and Lauren McCulloch; her two nieces, Maggie McCulluch and Ayden Bender, and her German shepherd, Sasha.
"This has been very, very hard on our whole family, especially Olivia," Hunt said.
Ms. Lytle also is survived by her father, David Lytle; and her grandmother, Betty Hunt.
A memorial service will be offered at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20 at North Presbyterian Church, 300 N. Forest Road, Amherst.