In a recent letter to friends back in Sherburn, Minn., Edmund J. Kasper told them he was having a great time in Largo.
"He wrote that it was so beautiful there," Marian Youngwirth said. "He said he could walk wherever he wanted to go."
On a walk Tuesday night near his Largo apartment, Kasper stepped in front of a car. Police said the 69-year-old man died of his injuries at the accident scene on Keene Road.
Kasper was the owner of Sherburn Bakery. According to Vic Youngwirth, the bakery is one of the oldest businesses in the Minnesota city of 1,200 people.
The Youngwirths have owned the hardware store next to the bakery on Main Street in Sherburn for 23 years. Kasper's bakery was in business for years before that.
"It's a bread and doughnut type of place," Mrs. Youngwirth said. "He and his wife used to run it. After she died, he had someone else working with him."
For the past several years, Youngwirth said, Kasper closed the two-person operation in the winter and headed south to avoid the cold. This year, he stopped in Largo and stayed at Imperial Palms Apartments.
"I think he was going to be there another month," Mrs. Youngwirth said. "This is a sad, sad day here."
Kasper was near his apartment about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday when the accident happened.
Police spokesman Sean Fitzgerald said Kasper was crossing Keene Road just north of East Bay Drive. Imperial Palms is near there on the west side of Keene.
Kasper was walking from the west to the east side of Keene. He crossed the southbound lanes of traffic and got to the median.
According to Fitzgerald, Kasper paused in the median and then stepped into the path of a northbound Ford Explorer driven by Tresha Brosig, 20, of St. Petersburg.
The impact knocked Kasper onto the Ford's hood. When he fell off, he was run over by a Plymouth driven by Jarred Schlauch, 25, of Largo.
Fitzgerald said no charges were filed or are expected.
It was the latest in a series of fatalities involving pedestrians.
An 80-year-old woman from Nova Scotia died last week when she was hit by a car while walking across a Clearwater Beach street during rush hour. A 52-year-old St. Petersburg man was killed last month when he tried to cross the Courtney Campbell Parkway. A 69-year-old Largo woman died in December after she stepped into the path of a car on Ulmerton Road.
The frequency of pedestrian accidents has prompted Largo and Clearwater police to step up safety programs, including warnings and citations for jaywalking.