MADEIRA BEACH — To her family, Dolores Loder White was an angel.
When the family's matriarch died 10 years ago this month, it was White who stepped in to care for their father at her Redington Beach home.
At the same time, she remained just as committed to the family's Tampa Bay area restaurant business named after him — Crabby Bill's.
Now the family is forced to deal with her death.
In the second accident like it in the same place since 2006, White drowned early Sunday after her car went over a seawall outside the Crabby Bayside concession in Madeira Beach.
"This is a tough time of the year for our family, and now for our sister to pass like this unexpectedly, it's very sad for us," said Matt Loder, White's brother and the chief executive officer of Crabby Bill's Seafood Inc. "She was very loved in our family. She was very much like my mother in a number of ways."
Oldest sister Eleanor Jenkins, 55, agreed.
"She was an angel," Jenkins said. "Every since our mother passed away, she's been taking care of our father. This is going to be shocking to a lot of people. She was only 53 years old and she loved life."
White, who many knew by the childhood nickname "Cookie," owned the concession at the American Legion at 600 American Legion Drive. She called the location Crabby Bayside, a name consistent with the family business that has restaurants, some of them franchises, in Pinellas County, Tampa and near Orlando.
Matt Loder, 45, said his sister enjoyed working at the American Legion and the business opportunity she had there.
At 12:46 a.m. Sunday, White was leaving the hall when her 2003 Lexus SC 430 went over the rocky seawall and into the Intracoastal Waterway.
In September 2006, a man apparently suffering a seizure went over the same seawall outside the American Legion post in his Cadillac. He was rescued after witnesses, deputies and firefighters jumped in as his car sank.
There is no fence or guardrail to block a vehicle from going the short distance from the parking lot to the water.
Family members said White's sister-in-law, who helped run the concession that night, left the location about 10:30 p.m.
"We don't have much information about what happened," Loder said. "We don't know if it was something medical or something with the car. We just don't know too much right now."
According to investigators, a security guard at the nearby Sea Tower Condominiums saw White's vehicle go in the water and called 911. Rescue crews found the vehicle submerged and discovered White floating face down. Crews pulled her out of the water and began performing CPR.
White, the mother of two adult sons, was transported to St. Petersburg General Hospital but was pronounced dead at 2:04 a.m., according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
Madeira Beach Fire Rescue, Seminole Fire Department and Pinellas Suncoast Fire Rescue responded to the scene. The Sheriff's Office is still investigating the accident.
"I'm surprised that they said that she drowned," Jenkins said. "We've lived in Florida for over 40 years and swimming is something that we always did."
White's mother, also named Dolores Loder, died May 21, 2000, at age 64. Just two days ago, she and husband Bill Loder would have celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. Emotional over the memory, Bill Loder, 78, took to his home in North Carolina to get away.
Sunday, one of his sons flew to North Carolina. Now the two are driving back to Pinellas County to prepare for his daughter's funeral. White will be interred near her mother at Garden Sanctuary in Seminole.
"She has been very devoted to our family and our family business," Matt Loder said. "She was happy with her life. She's a very caring person and this is just a sad thing."
Demorris A. Lee can be reached at dalee@sptimes or (727) 445-4174.