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Bartending ‘legend’ remembered after fatal hit-and-run on vacation

Friends and coworkers are honoring a beloved Madison-area bartender after she was killed while on vacation for the first time in 15 years.
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 10:16 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 11, 2022 at 8:37 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Friends and coworkers are honoring a beloved Madison-area bartender after she was killed while on vacation for the first time in 15 years.

Mary Reed, as her former boss confirmed, died Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla.

“Her charismatic and super big personality is what made me grow closer to her,” Dennis Wright, who worked with Reed at the Dive Inn, said. “[She’s] kind of like a Madison legend, if you will.”

Friends gathered at the bar Thursday upon hearing the news.

“Thankfully we have a community, but who does good after finding out one of your sisters died tragically the night before?” Katrina Price said.

Bartending "legend" Mary Reed is remembered by friends.
Bartending "legend" Mary Reed is remembered by friends.(WMTV/Michelle Baik)

Adam Zierten, who knew Reed for 26 years, said, “She would’ve wanted us to be remembering and celebrating her life all together, so I think we did the right thing by gathering here.”

Friends said Reed had also worked at the Ale Asylum, Crystal Corner Bar, Java Cat and Brothers Three Bar & Grill.

According to a police report from Florida Highway Patrol, a car hit a 55-year-old woman from Cottage Grove who was crossing a boulevard. The driver kept going and never stopped.

A second car tried swerving out of the way but ended up also hitting the woman. The driver of the second car stopped, and the pedestrian was pronounced dead on scene. Authorities are still looking for the driver of the first car.

Police did not identify the victim by name, but Josh Wacker, co-owner of the Dive Inn, told NBC15 News the pedestrian was Reed.

The Dive Inn plans to be closed Wednesday in honor of Reed, who worked during that time.

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