O’Brien was a talented art student 10 credits shy of graduating from
UW-Eau Claire when she was killed Sunday in Jackson County by a
“She loved all kinds of art,” her father, Jerome O’Brien, said this
morning. “From the moment she could hold a pencil or crayon, she was
Anne O’Brien, 22, of Eau Claire was found dead at 4:30 a.m. Sunday at
the intersection of highways 54 and X in the town of Irving south of
Black River Falls, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
A witness saw a newer sport utility vehicle or truck traveling south on
Highway 54 strike O’Brien, the sheriff’s department said. Weather
conditions were foggy. No other information was available today about
circumstances surrounding the death.
O’Brien enjoyed painting, photography and singing, her father said. The
art student took after her mother, Mary Melcher, who is a professional
artist, her father said.
“She was just an outstanding student, and I think she really liked Eau
Claire,” said Bob Shaw, associate dean of students at UW-Eau Claire.
O’Brien worked at the front desk at Highland Fitness Center in Eau
Claire. She made paintings on the health club walls, Manager Bill
“She was very upbeat, fun to be around,” he said. “She always had a smile on her face. She was a very special lady.”
O’Brien grew up in Humbird. She graduated from Alma Center High School in 1999.
She had many friends and made sure every student was included, her father said.
“She sacrificed her popularity to help the kids who couldn’t be as
popular,” he said. “Her teachers always said, of all the cliques in
school, Anne was able to bridge them all.”
O’Brien is survived by her parents and two younger siblings, Patrick
and Erin. Her hobbies included stargazing, movies, traveling and music.
“She was so full of passion,” her father said. “When she would come to a family get-together, she would light up the room.”
Visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Anderson Funeral Home in
Augusta. Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph’s Catholic
Church in Fairchild.
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