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Wreck victim called caring, diligent

The mail ran as usual Tuesday at the Dade City post office. But things were a little quieter, a little sadder after postal workers lost a co-worker and a friend Monday in a wreck on U.S. 301.

Linda Wayland, 57, who delivered mail on a rural route, died when she lost control of her 1999 Jeep Cherokee about 3:50 p.m. and slammed into a power pole and fence several hundred yards north of Long Road.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers are continuing their investigation but said Wayland might have hit a patch of water left behind by heavy afternoon storms.

"It was a tremendous loss for all those who have worked with her," said Michael J. Porta, officer in charge at the Dade City post office. "It was very solemn this morning. Everyone took it hard. Everyone here is just like family."

Porta said Wayland had worked for the U.S. Postal Service for nearly 2{ years. He said she delivered mail a couple of days a week on her route and was returning to the post office Monday when the accident happened.

"She was an excellent employee," Porta said. "She did an outstanding job."

Beyond being a fine employee, Wayland was caring and compassionate, family members said.

"She always got along great with everybody, always laughing and happy," said Cliff Wayland, Linda's brother-in-law.

Relatives remember her as a woman who liked to tend to her flower garden, sew and paint. She originally was from Illinois but moved here several years ago with her husband, Homer, they said.

"She was a very thoughtful person," said Brenda Wayland, Linda's sister-in-law. "She was always taking snacks up to the post office . . . she was hard working and sincere.

"She was just a sweetheart."

A visitation for Wayland has been set tentatively for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Coleman & Ferguson Funeral Home, 14233 Seventh Ave. Family members plan to send Wayland's body to Illinois for burial.

For information about funeral arrangements, contact the funeral home at (352) 567-5191.