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Neighbors grieve after popular Sandwich man is killed by car

Keith Yorke was walking his dog before the accident. Keith Yorke was walking his dog before the accident.
By Christopher Girard
Globe Correspondent / May 16, 2010

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Keith Yorke, who died after being hit by a car in his hometown of Sandwich early Friday, was remembered as a respected health care executive and valued neighbor.

“He was the best man that we’d ever known,’’ said his neighbor Maggie Mahoney. “He was the best father. He was the best role model. He was just the most super human being who ever walked.’’

Yorke, 54, was hit by a car while walking the family dog on Asa Meiggs Road, a few blocks from his home on Widow Coombs Walk, police said Friday in a statement. Yorke was hit by a 1997 Ford Escort driven by Nicole J. Giles, 18, of Mashpee, around 5:17 a.m., police said. Giles called 911 from the scene.

Sandwich police are investigating the accident.

Yorke was taken by helicopter to Boston Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Yorke was the director of physician recruitment for Cape Cod Healthcare, which runs Cape Cod and Falmouth hospitals, and had worked for the company for five years.

He leaves his wife, Deborah; two daughters, Victoria, 24, and Alexandra, 20; and a son, Adam, 10, according to a statement that Dr. Richard Salluzzo, president and chief executive of Cape Cod Healthcare, sent to employees Friday.

“This is truly one of the saddest announcements I have ever had to make,’’ Salluzzo said in the statement. “I know I speak for many of us when I say that in addition to doing a great job here, Keith was also a great friend. He will be terribly missed.’’

Neighbors remembered Yorke as an exceptionally friendly man who was deeply involved in the community.

Mahoney said that partly because of Yorke’s influence, her daughter pursued a career in medicine and is now a registered nurse at Cape Cod Hospital. The Yorkes and the Mahoneys have been neighbors since the Mahoneys moved to the neighborhood 18 years ago.

“We’re one of those neighborhoods that believes it takes a village to bring up a child, so we always did things together,’’ Mahoney said. “He always took the time to chat with everyone who went by. This neighborhood is just devastated.’’

Philip Anderson lived next door to Yorke on Widow Coombs Walk, part of the Southfield Estates, since 1996.

“He was the unofficial mayor of Southfield Estates,’’ Anderson said. “I think I’ve never seen him not smiling. All the families here are going to pitch in and help the Yorkes now, especially their 10-year-old son.’’

Anderson said Yorke walked the family dog, Rufus, every morning, and that the dog was not injured in the accident.

Gail Brides moved into the neighborhood 20 years ago, and said Yorke “was like the welcoming committee.’’

The two families kept a strong connection over the years, Brides said. Their daughters played together, Victoria Yorke babysat for Brides, and Brides’s daughter babysat for Keith Yorke.

“We just loved to talk about the kids and the dogs sitting on the hill in the front yard,’’ Brides said. “He was as proud of my kids as his own kids. It’s like we lost someone in our own family.’’

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