Friends and co-workers say Pamela Lane lived her life in the moment and never met someone she couldn’t call a friend.
The Marblehead, Mass., native was killed Oct. 3 while riding her bike on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Chapel Hill police have released few details of the accident, and no charges had been filed as of Friday.
Lane’s funeral Saturday was in Marblehead.
Friends said the 57-year-old split her time in recent years between her hometown and her home in Durham with fiance Tim Flynn. Flynn and his children, Tegan and Dillon, live in the Blenheim Woods neighborhood off Ephesus Church Road.
Lane’s daughters Stephanie Lane and Cortney Cummings, as well as her parents, Ed and Maggie Smith, and a sister and brother still live in the tight-knit town of Marblehead. Another sister lives in Newton, Mass. She also had a new grandson, Henry, friends said.
Real estate agent Meg Andrews worked with Lane at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Marblehead.
She was open to new experiences and loved a good practical joke, Andrews said. Lane would tell you what she liked about you, she said, and she engaged people who had different opinions instead of judging them.
“This is one of the things that made her so much fun to be around,” Andrews said. “She got so excited and inspired by people.”
In the last few years, Lane taught English to Spanish-speaking students in Durham and worked with the Dispute Settlement Center in Carrboro.
Executive director Frances Henderson said Lane, a certified dispute mediator, volunteered there for over a year and was hired last month.
“She impressed us so much that we hired her,” Henderson said. “She was a wonderfully bright, enthusiastic, life-loving person.”
A graduate of the University of Maine, Lane owned the Marblehead Sport Shop in Massachusetts for 17 years. She later earned her license as a senior real estate specialist. She gave her time to multiple nonprofits, friends said.
But her real passion was health and fitness, they said. She was stayed active, always wore a helmet and knew the rules of the road, they said.
“I couldn’t count the number of times she scolded me for starting to cross the street too soon or not looking both ways or walking to close to the road,” Andrews said. “It is so hard to understand how something like this happened to someone who took so many precautions to be safe.”
Investigators said Lane was traveling southbound on the eastern sidewalk of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. near the Bolin Creek Greenway. She was just north of the intersection with Hillsborough Street when police think a car leaving a gas station parking lot hit her. Lane died at UNC Hospitals.
While state law requires cyclists on the roadway to ride with traffic, local governments make the rules for bicycles on the sidewalk. Chapel Hill does let bicyclists use some sidewalks, including the one Lane was on when she was hit.
The problem is complicated, because it’s the only way cyclists can go south off the greenway. The Hillsborough Street intersection – at the bottom of two long, steep hills – is the safest place to cross, especially since cars often exceed the posted 35 mph speed limit.
Town Manager Roger Stancil met this week with senior staff members to brainstorm ideas for bike and pedestrian safety.
Cathy Hines, of Marblehead, got to know Lane while visiting the sport shop when her children were younger and said their families grew closer in the last decade. Lane and Flynn, also a Marblehead native, seemed at a good point in their lives, she said. He proposed this summer, she said.
“We were always laughing. She was my best friend,” Hines said. “Of course, I’m probably one of 200 people who could say that, because she made everybody feel like she was their best friend.”