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Columbia Missourian

Siblings with big smiles loved sports, friends, family

By Xinrui Zhu, Jaime Henry-White
July 7, 2012 | 7:50 p.m. CDT

ASHLAND — Alexandra Anderson and Brayden Anderson seemed to do it all: They did well in school, loved swimming and boating with their family and stayed busy with lots of school activities.

Alexandra Anderson and Brayden Anderson of Ashland died Wednesday, July 4, 2012, at the Lake of the Ozarks. Alexandra was 13, and Brayden was 8.

Alexandra was born Oct. 6, 1998, and Brayden was born on June 15, 2004, in Columbia to Angela (O’Bryan) and Brian Anderson.

Alexandra was admired by her classmates and teammates. An Honor Roll student who received many academic awards for communication arts, writing and social studies, she was also in the Yearbook Club and Student Council at the Southern Boone County School.

"She could balance her academics and then she could balance the social aspects of group projects," said Ron Smith, her eighth grade social studies teacher and track coach. "She really strived to be successful in everything that she did."

She was enthusiastic about running cross country, racing track and playing basketball for the YMCA SWARM and Southern Boone Eagles. Smith said she wasn't the fastest runner on the team, but she had "boundless energy" and that "her smile was so big she could hardly keep her eyes open."

"If I could give her a medal for all the work and hard effort she put in, I would have done it every single track meet we had," Smith said.

Alexandra's basketball coach and eighth grade science teacher Chris Gares saw her work hard inside and outside the classroom. She would come in to ask questions before and after class and was a role model for her classmates when they caused trouble.

Alexandra had practiced basketball every day this summer, and Gares said he had no doubt she would have played for the junior varsity high school team this fall. She was an out-going girl who loved hanging out with her friends.

“It’s awful nice to have girls like her around your basketball team because she has one of those magnetic personalities,” Gares said.

When not on the court, she adored riding her horses, Hebe and Flo, and received many ribbons at county events as a member of the Englewood 4-H Club.

“They were very active, very positive, beautiful kids,” Southern Boone County Superintendent Charlotte Miller said.

Brayden was a lot like his sister in achievement. He was awarded the Star Student Award at Southern Boone County School and played on the Ashland Optimist Club youth basketball team and flag-football team. He could often be found outdoors on the swing or jumping on the trampoline.

“They were just precious kids,” Miller said. “It’s just a heartache."

Brayden was almost always smiling and had a gift for making others laugh. He liked to ride his bike, read, play computer games and spend time with his brother and sister.  

"You have kids whose parents just have done a fantastic job of raising them, and that's exactly what (their) parents did," Smith said.

Alexandra and Brayden are survived by their parents; a brother, Garrett Anderson; three grandparents, Mary Jane Kraska, of St. Charles, Gary and Susan O’Bryan, of Lentner, and Freda Anderson, of Hamilton; a great-grandmother Velma Jo Thale, of Quincy, Ill.; nine aunts and uncles, Cynthia O’Bryan, of Fulton, Mark and Deborah Gast, of Fulton, Cindy and Tom Elberson, of Sherman, S.D., Barbara and Greg Fitch, of Manhattan, Kan., and Lori and Troy Whitt, of Hamilton; along with several cousins.

Their grandfather, Mayo J. Anderson, died earlier.

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Monday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Columbia, 903 Bernadette Drive. A prayer vigil will follow at 7:30 p.m. at the church. Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the church. Burial will follow at Liberty Cemetery in Ashland. A reception will follow the burial at the Southern Boone High School Commons in Ashland, 14520 S. Crump Lane.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Boone County National Bank Scholarship Fund in care of the family, 405 E. Broadway, Ashland, MO 65010.