STAMFORD, Conn. — Matthew Badger, whose three daughters died in a tragic Christmas Day house fire in 2011 in Stamford – has died, the LilySarahGrace Fund announced Thursday. He was 51.
“We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Matthew Badger, LSG co-founder,” the LilySarahGrace Fund – a charity founded by Badger – wrote in a statement posted on Twitter . “When LSG first started, it was to honor the lives and memories of Matthew’s daughters. Spurred by the vision of Matthew, and co-founder Abby Ballin, countless numbers of children nationwide have benefited from classroom learning experiences enriched by the arts and creativity.
“While our hearts are broken, we are honored and committed to carrying on Matthew’s legacy. LSG will continue to transform public elementary schools into child-centered learning environments that meet the needs of all learners while preparing creative 21st century global citizens.”
The Hartford Courant reported that he died of natural causes but gave no details.
Badger's three daughters — 7-year-old twins Grace and Sarah and 9-year-old Lily — died in a huge blaze in their mother's home in Shippan early on Christmas Day. Their maternal grandparents, Lomer Johnson, 71, and Pauline Johnson, 69, also died. The girls' mother, his ex-wife Madonna Badger, and Michael Borcina, a general contractor she was dating at the time, both escaped from the burning home. The home was undergoing massive renovations at the time.
Madonna Badger posted a tribute to Matthew Badger on Facebook .
"Matthew Badger. He was a wonderful man with a generous heart. He was an amazing Dad to his girls, Lily, Sarah and Grace. His death was sudden and peaceful. He is with his children and his parents and his brother, Mark. Please send him light and love. My heart is broken But also joyous that they are together."
In September 2012, less than a year after the girls died, Badger joined a fundraiser for the LilySarahGrace Fund held in a Norwalk mansion and talked about how he handles his grief .
"I struggle every day with the meaning of it," Mathew Badger said, as the benefit for the fund he established in his daughters' names got underway. "This fund that I have created is the way I can continue to love my kids. I had to manifest some kind of meaning to the death of my children. It makes me feel like I'm loving my girls again."
He was president of the LilySarahGrace Fund, a tribute to his daughters. The nonprofit “empowers and challenges teachers in underfunded public elementary schools across the nation to incorporate the arts & creativity into their academic curriculums."
Matthew Badger was suing the city of Stamford in a case that is scheduled to go before a jury in April. He already had settled a lawsuit for $7 million against five contractors who worked on the house — including Borcina — claiming that poor construction work made the home a firetrap, the Hartford Courant reported.
After an investigation, Stamford fire officials concluded that the fire was caused by fireplace embers that were improperly disposed of. But depositions from his lawsuit against the city of Stamford reveal that two fire marshals believe that the quick demolition of the remains of the home made further investigation impossible, according to the Hartford Courant.