Anna Orben was a fun, goofy and spirited young woman who loved to do her hair and make up, dress up and go out with friends.
She was a social butterfly but also strong, hardworking and determined to live her best life. She dreamed of buying a house and had recently saved enough money for a down payment.
On January 28, Orben went to Litchfield’s Bar and Grill in Wells to meet friends and her older brother, James Bray. He intended to follow her home when they left Litchfield’s, but she had fled a few minutes before him. Orben was driving on Burnt Mill Road when she turned and her car crashed into a tree near Maplewood Lane. She was dead instantly.
Bray was driving the same route home soon after and came across the crash site. He called 911 and went down the embankment to check on his sister.
“I was in shock,” Bray said Thursday. “I saw her. I knew immediately she was gone. She didn’t move. It was like something came over me. It felt like she was saying goodbye. It happened so fast.”
Bray said he called his mother to tell her the devastating news.
“This is my worst nightmare,” said Lisa Orben. “I don’t know how to get through this. I just can’t function without them. I can’t function without seeing her every day… seeing her face, smiling, and hearing, ‘I love you mom.’ When I said, “I love you,” she said, “I love you more.”
Raised in Wakefield, Massachusetts, Orben attended Northeast Metropolitan Regional Vocational School, where she excelled in the cosmetology program and graduated in 2013. A few years later she moved to Wells to live with her parents and her large blended family. including nine foster children.
Orben was remembered as a kind and thoughtful person who was always there for family and friends.
Her mother said she is close to her sister Sarah, who has Down syndrome, and often locked Sarah in when she was visiting friends. On her way to work, she often drove her brothers to the bus stop.
Her younger sister Skylar was her best friend. She helped Skylar tend to her horse and gave her a spell that said, “You are my person.” ”
Her sister Caitlyn Olsen said the family is close. On Christmas Eve, about 30 relatives gathered at Olsen’s tiny home in Melrose, Massachusetts.
“It was packed, but that’s what we do,” said Olsen. “I’ll miss her when she laughs at me. She was way cooler than me.”
Bray said his sister is adorable and supportive. When he needed surgery a month ago, she was the first to wish him luck.
“Whenever I needed her, she was there,” her brother said. “Anna was great. She was incredible. She loved everyone with all her heart.”
Orben worked as a waitress and cook at Litchfield’s for about three years. Her sister Skylar also worked there. She then worked briefly at LongHorn Steakhouse in Biddeford but lost her job when the pandemic hit. For the past year she has been an Appointments Coordinator at the Morong Falmouth Car Dealers.
Peter Sowles, vice president at Morong Falmouth, said she is pleasant, organized and enjoys talking to customers.
“She was great,” Sowles said. “Anna was described as incredibly nice by her colleagues. She loved her job. She enjoyed coming to work and enjoyed the people there. She is a loss in more ways than one.”
This week, Lisa and Kevin Orben and some of their children visited the scene of the accident and tied flowers around the tree that Orben’s car hit. Lisa Orben’s mother died in a car accident in 2007, making this terrible loss even more difficult.
“If Anna didn’t see me in the morning, she would tell me, ‘Good morning mom. I hope you have a great day. I love you so much.’ Every day I got this message,” said Lisa Orben. “I didn’t get it this week. It’s heartbreaking. I miss her so much. We will miss her every day for the rest of our lives.”
Her family will be hosting friends Sunday from 3pm to 6pm at the Bibber Memorial Chapel, 111 Chapel Road in Wells. Mass will be held Monday at 11am at St Mary’s Church, Holy Spirit Parish, 236 Eldridge Road in Wells.
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