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Hundreds gather to celebrate life of Abby Osborn

Christopher Dornblaser
505-5436/@YDDornblaser
  • Hundreds gathered at a Mount Wolf church Saturday to celebrate the life of Abby Osborn.
  • Abby, 16, died almost a week before after she was struck by an alleged hit-and-run driver.

Abigail "Abby" Osborn wasn't a typical teenager. She rarely tried to fit in.

She was a fan of vinyl, tie-dye, Converse and flannel.

Attendees leave Otterbein United Methodist Church  in Mount Wolf after a celebration of life service for Abby Osborn Saturday, April 29, 2017. The Northeastern High School student was struck and killed  by an alleged hit-and-run driver early last Sunday morning. Attendance at the service was standing room only. Bill Kalina photo

“She couldn’t decide what decade she liked best," the Rev. Wayne Heberlig said.

On Saturday, the Otterbein United Methodist Church in Mount Wolf was packed with people, many of whom were sporting the very flannel, Northeastern Bobcat jerseys or even tie-dye T-shirts that Abby would have worn.

Abby, a junior at Northeastern High School, died April 24 after being struck by an alleged hit-and-run driver in the early morning hours of April 23 in Newberry Township. She was 16.

Two men hug outside Otterbein United Methodist Church  in Mount Wolf after a celebration of life service for Abby Osborn Saturday, April 29, 2017. The Northeastern High School student was struck and killed  by an alleged hit-and-run driver early last Sunday morning. Attendance at the service was standing room only. Bill Kalina photo

About 450 people showed up Saturday afternoon for her celebration of life service in what turned out to be a standing-room only event.

During the nearly 90-minute long service, friends and family spoke about Abby, characterizing her as many things, ranging from "irreplaceable" to "beyond her years."

Northeastern junior 'lived life to the fullest'

Remembering Abby: During the service, Northeastern High School chemistry teacher John Marrs, who was Abby's homeroom teacher for two years as well as the director for the school's drama productions, read letters submitted by her friends, which included some of the following comments:

"She gave 110 percent to everything that she did."

“She was not only my best friend — she was my sister."

“I know I’m not the best, but being the person you are, you made me feel like the best."

Marrs, who knew her from his homeroom and through their drama productions, spoke highly of Abby as well.

He recalled during one rehearsal, Abby wasn't feeling well. He told her to go home early, which she declined to, saying that she had to practice.

"She always pushed through, no matter what," Marrs said.

Abby's mother, Kristine Stover, read an excerpt from her daughter's submission to qualify for the annual Distinguished Young Women Program.

“I’d like to make people happy, it’s important to me that everybody is smiling,” she said.

Abigail Osborn

She said if Abby saw someone sitting by themselves, she would go up and try to befriend them.

Stover said her daughter was a "hero" who did everything with "gusto."

Officiating the service was Heberlig, who knew Abby through church. He said Abby was  "well-known" and "admired," and he noted her time as a soccer player for Northeastern.

“She also put on her game face, and she became a different person — a fierce competitor of a high magnitude,” he said.

Abby was discovered just after 1 a.m. April 23 on a road in Newberry Township. She was airlifted to Hershey Medical Center, where she died the next day.

Newberry Township Police have charged David Michael Kent Jr., 24, of 15 Susquehanna Ave., York Haven, in the crash. He is charged with with accidents involving death or personal injury, failure to stop and render aid, failure to notify police of an accident involving injury or death and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence.

Kent was released from York County Prison after posting $30,000 bail, according to online court records. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. May 24 before Magisterial District Judge Scott J. Gross.

Northeastern High junior dies after hit-and-run

Legacy: Abby's grandfather, Richard Rogers, told the crowd that Abby's death was tragic, but there was a positive outcome.

Rogers said Abby had gotten her driver's license a few weeks before her death, and she elected to be an organ donor.

"Through her life being taken, she gave life," he said.

For that, he called her "beyond her years."

Stover said her daughter lived a "glorious 16 years" and said she "lived life hard."

"Nobody had another Abby like ours," she said.

Stover said everybody who knew Abby had an "Abby story."

"We are not going to say goodbye to our Abby," she said. "But we are going to say 'We'll see you again.'"

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.