– EMMA BOUTHILLETTE

Staff Writer

FREEPORT — Pursuing her American dream, Miriam “Lorena” Urquhart recently completed her first year at Southern Maine Community College, working toward a degree in nursing.

“It’s something she’s always wanted to do, since she was a little girl,” said her friend Janice Brissette.

“It was the drive to help people,” said her husband, Sean Urquhart. “She just really enjoyed helping people.”

Mrs. Urquhart died Thursday after being involved in a car accident. She was 24.

She was born in Cali, Colombia, and “love at first sight” brought her to Maine. Sean Urquhart was on vacation in Aruba during the same week she was there visiting her sister, aunt and uncle.

She met him while she was chatting with her aunt, who was bartending. “We immediately spoke,” he said, even though she was not fluent in English at the time.

They chatted for half an hour before Sean and his friend moved to the next bar.

“Two hours later, I said, ‘I want to go back to where I talked to that girl,’” and they spent the rest of his vacation together.

In the next year, Mrs. Urquhart invited him to meet her family in Colombia. When the couple decided to marry, she chose to move to Maine.

She quickly got caught up in the American culture, her husband said. He introduced her to the shopping outlets in Freeport and helped her improve her English.

Within eight months of moving to Maine, Mrs. Urquhart began working as a housekeeper at Falmouth by the Sea. Her husband said it was a way for her to see what nurses are like in the United States. Shortly after, she took classes to become a certified nurse’s assistant.

“That’s where she began her career, serving the needs of others,” said Patricia Kay, director of nurses at Falmouth by the Sea. Mrs. Urquhart was a great advocate for her patients’ needs, Kay said, noting that “she would speak up if things weren’t right.”

The staff at Falmouth by the Sea has created a memorial for Mrs. Urquhart. Most of its messages reflect how much her smile and enthusiasm will be missed.

Kay said Mrs. Urquhart discovered pins that read “Have a Happy Attitude,” which she passed out to co-workers and encouraged everyone to wear.

“She was just embarking on spreading her wings and flying,” Kay said. The staff will remember “her energy and sparkle in trying new things, bettering herself and enjoying the moments in life.”

On Tuesday, Mrs. Urquhart’s family was traveling from Colombia to Maine, navigating customs. Brissette, her friend, said the family was a huge part of Mrs. Urquhart’s life.

Her husband said she would spend hours in the evening video-chatting with her family and staying in touch through instant messaging and Facebook.

As Mrs. Urquhart learned about America and its culture, she told her friends and co-workers about Colombia and her family.

“She was willing to educate and teach the co-workers and her residents about another country and culture,” Kay said. “She was also proud of her patriotism in this country and was actively pursuing her citizenship. She was patriotic to both of her homes.

“She was a true representative of pursuing the American dream,” Kay said.

 

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

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Each day the newsroom selects one obituary and seeks to learn more about the life of a person who has lived and worked in Maine. We look for a person who has made a mark on the community or the person’s family and friends in lasting ways.