MIDDLETON — Tears were met with smiles and sobbing was met with laughter Saturday during a memorial service to celebrate and reflect on the lives of Ashton Braden and Sofia Moore.

About 1,000 people filled the Middleton High School auditorium to hear stories and memories given by friends and family of the sisters, who positively impacted many.

Ashton, 17, Sofie, 6, both of Caldwell, died Jan. 3 as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash at Farmway Road and Old Highway 30. Both were students in the Middleton School District.

A close friend to the family, David, said the situation is “gut-wrenching” and “incredibly sad,” but also said it is a time to remember and celebrate.

“Those two girls were a gift,” he told the crowd.

To the sisters’ immediate family, he said, “Today we are here to share our hearts — to share our tears. Our silent presence, our memories, with you. We are sorry, for what you’re going through.”

Each person who spoke mentioned the spirit of life the pair carried, the forever smiles on their faces and genuine love of life and those around them.

Sofie’s best friend, Olivia, expressed her condolences and adoration in a letter addressed to Sofie’s parents, David and Sharla Moore.

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“I’m sorry. The things I loved about Sofia: She was funny. She taught me how to braid. I liked to play with her. I liked to swim with her,” a family member read. “She is my best friend. I love her. I miss Sofia.”

Ashton’s best friends, Julie and Karlie, also read letters which expressed not only their sadness, but love of their “sister” and “other half.” Through tears, they talked of plans to attend each other’s weddings, grow old together and wished they could hug Ashton and Sofie just once more.

Ashton’s affection toward her friends and family was not overshadowed by her “sass” and ability to speak her mind. Her basketball coach, Vince, spoke of a time when he required the team to give up their cell phones during away game trips. He saw the glow of a phone in one seat and realized Ashton had not given up her phone.

“Vince, you gotta understand,” Ashton responded when he asked why she still had her cell phone. “There’s two things a girl’s gotta have: That’s fun, and a phone.”

Almost every boy in Sophie’s class said he was, or wanted to be, her boyfriend, a friend of the family said. However, she preferred the ones who were “just friends.” The 6-year-old wasn’t into “all that boyfriend stuff.” Her teachers said she was always ready to lead groups of friends, and believe she is jumping right in to lead with the angels in heaven.

The pair, joined by middle sister Zoey, 11, were notorious for taking and recording hundreds of digital photos and videos, documenting memories for which their family is thankful.

• EDITOR’S NOTE: The Idaho Press-Tribune had the family’s permission to attend and report on the memorial service.

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