Life Remembered: Unity grad brightened days for others

PHILO — A May graduate of Unity High School is being remembered by those who knew and loved her.

Annie Daly, 19, who died in an all-terrain vehicle accident Sunday, had been a member of the cross-country and track teams at the school.

David Behm coached Ms. Daly for a year.

"As with everyone I coach, you get to know your runners and build a relationship of love with them," Behm said. "Annie is certainly one of the athletes that I felt close to. Every time we saw each other, there was a hug involved."

Seth Gooch was one of Ms. Daly's closest friends.

"She wasn't loud, but very outgoing," Gooch said. "What caught my eye was her smile: She had one of the best smiles I'd ever seen with those dimpled cheeks. She was just amazing, easy-going and always positive. If she couldn't make you smile, something was wrong. There was never a dull moment with her."

Gooch will most remember the time he spent with Ms. Daly and her family at their home.

"Just being with that group of people, they were such a family-oriented family," he said.

Rachel Billman said Ms. Daly has been her best friend since she can remember.

"She's more like my sister," Billman said. "We have a ton of memories together, and she's taught me a lot in life, but the biggest thing she has taught me is to be myself, to live my life the way that I want to, just like she did."

Billman said the things that Ms. Daly did and said always made her smile, even on her worst days.

"Annie also never failed to brighten my days just by being her," Billman said. "She's helped me through almost everything that I've been through. If I could talk to her one last time, I'd tell her that I love her more than anything and that she is my inspiration to be the best I can be."

Madi Clark worked Friday and Saturday night shifts with Ms. Daly at the Philo Tavern.

"Annie had a way of making anyone she talked to feel like you were a great friend," Clark said. "She always brought so much energy and happiness to work. She was so carefree and did whatever made her happy, which is the biggest lesson I have learned from being around her. Her smile never left her face, ever, no matter what."

Lindsey Thinnes knew Ms. Daly since before preschool; she lived nearby and rode their bicycles together everywhere, and their parents are good friends.

"I'm going to miss everything about Annie," Thinnes said, "but what I will miss most is her reassuring me that life is going to work out how it's supposed to, to not worry and always be myself. We loved Philo so much."

Daly was in the same class as Brittany Murphy, a Pesotum resident who was killed in an automobile accident in February 2010.

"Unfortunately we've been through this before," Unity Principal Phil Morrison said of the grieving process the school is now undergoing.

In addition to Ms. Daly and Ms. Murphy, the school has lost seven other students to accidents since 1999.

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