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Woman dies day after she and dog were struck

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 12, 2002

TAMPA -- A south Tampa woman who was hit by a car while walking her dog Tuesday night died Wednesday from severe head injuries.

Police said Sheryll Ann Keyser, 53, of 3604 S MacDill Ave., was crossing the street near her home about 9 p.m. when she and her German shepherd were struck by a 1983 Chevy van driven by Reche Jackson, 52, of Tampa.

Keyser's dog, Greta, 10, died at the scene.

Police said Jackson was traveling north on MacDill within the posted speed limit of 35 mph and did not see Keyser as she stepped into his way. No charges were filed.

Keyser was a native of Roanoke and a resident of Boulder, Colo., for 25 years before she moved to Tampa in 2001. She was a waiter for the Starship Cruise Line and the Old Meeting House restaurant on Howard Avenue.

Friends said Keyser and her dog were almost inseparable.

"They were so close," said Patty Boone, Keyser's best friend. "It's sort of appropriate that they went together. She was the most sweetest, wonderful girl."

Teri Hazelett, 45, who lived one floor above Keyser at the Waverly Arms apartment complex, said Keyser was considered the resident cook.

"She had this wonderful way of cooking," Hazelett said. "When you were down, she would make you banana nut bread."

Keyser hosted dinner parties at least once a week and spent some of her free time hanging out with neighbors by the pool.

"The dinner parties were one of the things we would plan out," Hazelett said. "It was a little ritual we had."

Keyser, who didn't have children, lived alone except for Greta and her 19-year-old cat, Vinny.

A picture of Keyser sits on a wall at the Old Meeting House, in an article showcasing the restaurant.

"She was just a wonderful person," Hazelett said. "We just have a hole in our hearts."

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