Family and friends of Walpole native Ally Smith are remembering her as a fun-loving, care-free person who had a zest for life and a constant smile on her face.
“Her smile and her dimple, even if you never met her you would see that smile and be at ease. It was like sunshine,” said Earl Smith, Ally's dad.
Smith, a 24-year-old, 2006 graduate of Walpole High School died last week due to medical complications from severe brain trauma she suffered in a car accident on Farm Road in Sherborn in 2010.
Her loss will be devastating for many.
“Her most natural skill was truly her ability to make friends. It was incredible. That truly was a gift that she had,” her father said.
“Since the very beginning, it’s just been really amazing. I wouldn’t think that there would be so many and so loyal for so long. But they stood by her through the whole tragedy and they were there with her,” he said. “It was heart wrenching but it was really amazing to see that.”
After graduating from Walpole High School she went to college in Colorado and then transferred to UMass Boston.
Ask anybody that knows her and they will tell you about Ally's pursuit of her dream job.
“Both Ally and I have ridden horses our whole lives and she just really wanted to be a large animal veterinarian and to focus on horses," said Vanessa, her older sister.
She worked at Tufts Veterinary Emergency Treatment and Specialties in Walpole for about 3 years and was in the Pre-Veterinary & Animal Science Club at UMass.
“Just being involved with horses I think she just found a real happiness there and was a huge part of her life. I mean, we were at the barn every day. We were there all the time,” Vanessa said.
Ally spent much of her time at High Rock Stables in Walpole caring for other peoples' horses and teaching children.
“She was just amazing with animals. She spent all her free time at the barn," said Earl. “She had a trick, she would put a carrot behind her back and the horses would come up and she would do that for a long period of time and then all she had to do was walk away with her hands behind her back and the horse would trot following behind her.”
Kids loved that trick.
Ally's boyfriend, Walpole native Bobby Norberg, remembered her as being carefree but strong willed about her passions at the same time. The two had been dating since they were 15-years-old.
“I met her just through a friend to begin with. We were young but we hit it off and we were kind of inseparable through most of high school,” he said. “She was my life from the better half of my young adulthood and into my early adulthood. She was my entire life.”
“I think people were attracted to her and her personality. She was always smiling. She had a great laugh, a great voice," Bobby said. “She was very happy all the time so it’s hard not to gravitate towards somebody like that.”
In such a difficult time for Ally's family and friends, those who knew her best are trying to stay strong. An attribute they say she had in spades.
“Even now, with her not being with us, I actually do feel stronger when I think of her,” Bobby said. “I just think of her and how she would have handled the situation.”
Vanessa called her the "rock" of the family.
“Her determination in the facing all the challenges in her life before her accident, whether they be big or small, was my only fuel going forward through the last two years. It just kept me going. I lived on that. I knew that she would have handled the situation with a very graceful determination,” she said.
According to her loved ones Ally's impact on others, young and old, was significant and immeasurable and was a testament to the person she was.
“She really was just a very loving, caring person. The kind of person that you wish you knew,” Bobby said.