Kent Co. ambassador Rae Short struck and killed by car in Dover

DOVER — They spent their last night together on the couch talking lovingly and kidding around for an hour.

Norman Short said his world was “crushed” the next day when his wife and well-known community volunteer Rae died Tuesday after being hit by a passing vehicle while trying to cross a road in Dover.

Married for more than 41 years, Mr. Short said he and his wife from Harrington retained the same passionate affection as the day they met.

“We said everything you would have wanted to say if you knew what was going to happen the next day,” Mr. Short said Wednesday. “It turned out to be a beautiful

Rae Short

goodbye even though neither one of us realized it at the time.”

Mr. Short recalled, “I told her how much I still loved her and how she remained my greatest friend after all the years, and she said the same type of things back to me. We knew how fortunate and lucky we were to still have that type of relationship.”

Scores of condolences, sympathies, tributes, remembrances and thank yous were posted on Mrs. Short’s Facebook page Wednesday morning as word of the tragedy spread. Mr. Short said a celebration of life would likely be held sometime next week “after I glue myself back together a bit.”

The late Mrs. Short, 63 years old when she died, was seemingly everywhere when it came to community events and non-profit ventures bringing like-minded supporters together.

“Rae was just a wonderful person and a fantastic, fantastic ambassador for not just the (Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce) but the Kent County community as well,” CDCC President Judy Diogo said.

“Whatever was up in Kent County you knew you’d see Rae Short there … There will be a big hole in Kent County without her.”

Mr. Short remembered tagging along to community events and realizing his wife “was like a celebrity in Dover.”

For the community

Mrs. Short was listed as a community liaison for Dover-based Home Instead Senior Care designed to assist the elderly at their own residence. Her profile online said “While working with community organizations, Rae recognized the awareness that was needed for our seniors.

“She takes pride in connecting seniors and their families on the services that are available to them.”

Her background read “Rae is involved with many non-profit organizations as a volunteer, including the American Heart Association, Meals on Wheels, Alzheimer’s Association, Be a Santa to a Senior and Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition to name a few.

“Rae is an Ambassador for the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce and a member of the State Chamber of Commerce, Middletown Chamber of Commerce and Capital City Rotary.”

The Middletown native “was active in every event we did,” Ms. Diogo said, and served as an official CDCC Ambassador that mentored new members, served as a liaison for current members and promoted the Chamber’s growth.

“Rae was one of those people who was happy being with people,” Ms. Diogo said. “Rae was happiest when she was doing things for other people.

“She was small in stature but clearly big in giving.”

Ms. Diogo said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with her husband and son in what’s a tragic loss for the entire community.”

Dover Police reported that the accident took place on Walker Road east of Butner Place at approximately 10:52 a.m. Tuesday. Mr. Short said his wife stumbled into the street during a stroke and was struck by the side mirror of a passing Buick LeSabre vehicle, hitting her head on the pavement as a result.

Police said Mrs. Short was alert when emergency personnel arrived on scene, but complained of head pain and a knee abrasion.

She was taken to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital in Dover and found to have a broken neck, authorities said.

Police said charges against the driver are not being sought.

‘Miss her terribly’

American Heart Association Development Director Karen Gritton said Mrs. Short welcomed her to the organization 15 years ago and introduced her to the community to form ties that exist today.

“We will miss her terribly in our community of volunteers and we are working on tributes for her,” Ms. Gritton said.

Ms. Gritton described Mrs. Short as “gently persistent in a good way.”

During at least a decade and a half of supporting the AHA, Mrs. Short would “volunteer to do anything and everything,” Ms. Gritton recalled. “She was there at events not only to set up and tear down but clean up too.”

A 2013 State News story recounted Mrs. Short’s recovery from a heart attack and triple bypass surgery the year before, included coordinating sponsors for the annual Go Red for Women Luncheon and Fashion Show which supports the fight against heart disease in women.

Mrs. Short was 57 years old at the time of the incident in 2012, and was surprised by the heart issues based on a healthy lifestyle that didn’t include smoking, excessive drinking or weight issues. Her primary care physician attributed a deep, hacking cough respiratory problems or allergies and prescribed Mucinex, according to the story. As symptoms persisted, Mrs. Short was en route to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital in Dover via ambulance (her first ride ever, she said) when suffering a heart attack on Feb. 10, 2012.

“I definitely encourage all women, and men, to really pay attention to their bodies,” Mrs. Short said five years ago.

“When they are going to a physician, and they don’t see that they’re getting the answers, then they really need to speak up and look for the answers.”

After the medical emergency, Ms. Gritton said, “Her passion just grew for the (AHA) and helping women with heart issues.”

Mrs. Short educated women on signs of heart disease and when to see a cardiologist.

“I know it’s the number-one killer of women, and we as women don’t take care of ourselves because we figure we have to do everything,” she said in 2013.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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