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Published January 19 2010

Young mother mourned

Afton Braseth and her best friend were inseparable for the past 14 years.

But now, just months after they each gave birth, Lisa Silha has to say goodbye to her best friend.

Braseth was killed Saturday in a head-on collision with a beet truck on Highway 75 near 70th Avenue North in Moorhead.

She was 27.

“It’s not something that should happen to someone that young,” Silha said on Monday. “She touched so many lives.”

The Ulen, Minn., resident leaves behind her husband, Nolan, 2-year-old son Ansley and 3-month-old daughter Ailey.

“She loved those kids more than anything on this earth,” Silha said, her voice cracking.

Earlier this year, as career-focused as Braseth was, she quit work to stay home with her children. Before that, the petite, brown-haired woman helped many kids at Lutheran Social Services’ Youth Court in Cass County.

It was there that 22-year-old Holly Bodensteiner worked with her. Braseth made a lasting impression on the young Fargo woman.

“She taught me so much,” Bodensteiner said. “She was so easy to talk to. She definitely had an impact.”

Silha said Braseth was quick to befriend others. The two instantly became friends after Braseth moved from Detroit Lakes, Minn., to Moorhead in ninth grade.

“We did everything together,” the 27-year-old Bismarck woman said. “We were attached at the hip.”

Silha said Braseth was an outgoing, bubbly and perpetually upbeat go-getter.

Braseth graduated from Moorhead High School in 2000 and went on to study criminal justice at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

A year later, she married and moved to Ulen. She and Silha remained close.

When Braseth was first pregnant, a month later so was Silha. Two years later, when Braseth had a baby girl, a month and a half later, Silha had a baby boy.

“We always said our kids would grow up and be best buddies,” Silha said.

The two chatted on the phone each week, exchanging pregnancy or parenting stories.

“I keep looking at my phone and waiting for her to call,” Silha said. “We were like sisters.”

A prayer service for Braseth is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The funeral is at 11 a.m. Thursday. Both are at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Ulen.

While she’ll be sorely missed by family and friends, Braseth leaves a legacy of reaching out to others, Silha said.

“She was an amazing person; she always put everybody else first,” she said. “You can’t take things for granted – she taught me that even before she died.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515