THE world was robbed on Friday morning and we may never know exactly what sort of mishap forced Alissa Marshall's car into the path of a concrete truck on Yamba Rd as she was headed home to Maclean.
Maclean born and raised, the 23-year-old died at the scene and sent the valley into shock.
Speaking at their home yesterday, Alissa's parents Tony and Tracy fought back tears as they described a young woman who prided herself on not being stereotypical and whose warmth and generosity was seemingly endless.
Alissa spent the best part of three months in Cambodia teaching poverty-stricken children through Opportunity Cambodia earlier this year and was deeply touched by the experience.
"She was probably the happiest she's ever been," said friend and Bottom Pub colleague Rebecca Alford.
Tony and Tracy said Alissa always had a desire to learn, travel and do charitable work and had even been tattooed on the wrist with the words "Knowledge is power".
Alissa was due to complete her teaching degree with Southern Cross University later this year and was on a scholarship with the NSW Department of Education, therefore assured a placement.
But instead of jumping straight into a conventional career, Alissa was planning on returning to Cambodia next year to teach voluntarily for 12 months.
Speaking of her daughter's life-changing trip to Cambodia, Tracy said she wished she'd asked her daughter more questions about the experience.
"Life just gets too busy," she said.
"We're sitting down now and looking at things (such as photos) we haven't even seen," Tony added.
They said Alissa was very close to her sister Kacie, 21, and adored her nephew Jarris, 2.
"She loved her friends dearly, she loved shopping, loved her clothes," said Tracy.
"She was quiet - kept to herself, wouldn't tell you much," said Tony.
Talking of their daughter's happiness, both parents said she appeared to appreciate things more upon her return from Cambodia.
"She couldn't believe how poor the conditions and everything were that they lived in but how happy they were," said Tracy.
As for the crash which claimed Alissa's life, Tony said he visited the man who was driving the eastbound concrete truck yesterday who told him that Alissa, who was travelling west, simply didn't turn along a slight bend in Yamba Rd near the Yamba Shopping Fair.
Tony said the family believed the man was not at fault.
The family said there had been speculation as to the cause of the crash and acknowledged that, despite a police investigation, they may never know exactly what had happened.
A memorial service for Alissa will be held at the Maclean Services Club at 1pm tomorrow and the family has asked that instead of flowers, people donate on the day to the Opportunity Cambodia Children's Education Centre.