‘It’s a tragic end’: 100-year-old woman hit, killed by vehicle while collecting money for charity

Friends of Shirley Meagher said she was out doing what she wanted to do when she was unfortunately hit and killed by a vehicle. (Source: WEEK)
Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 8:54 PM CDT
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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK/Gray News) - A beloved woman in an Illinois community has died after she was struck by a vehicle.

WEEK reports that 100-year-old Shirley Meagher was crossing a street in Peoria when a car hit and killed her Friday morning.

Meagher was known around the community for collecting money and donating it to charities, including the St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Her friends said she died doing what she loved to do and that was helping others.

“She will be missed,” said Nancy Wittry, Meagher’s best friend. “She was good friends with lots and lots of people, but we sort of adopted each other.”

Meagher spent many years of her life giving back to the Peoria community.

Every morning, rain or shine, the 100-year-old would walk to area restaurants and fast-food locations to pick up loose change that she could find.

“I was her public relations agent when I found out how active she was,” Wittry said.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said she believes Meagher was on her way to collect change when she was hit by the vehicle.

“This morning was no different. She was on the same track with her same behavior, but unfortunately, she was struck by a vehicle on her way back home,” Harwood said.

Authorities said the crash happened at about 7:45 a.m. According to Harwood, Meagher was not in a marked crosswalk.

Harwood said the driver of the vehicle involved stayed at the scene and was cooperating with police. Officers don’t suspect the driver was impaired.

There was rain in the area Friday, but authorities said it’s currently unclear why the driver didn’t see Meagher.

“It’s a tragic end for someone who really worked hard for other people, and I think that’s the beauty of it, to die doing something for others,” Harwood said.

Meagher had been going on her donation walks from the Buehler Home, a senior care facility, for the past 12 years.

Her friends at the Buehler Home said they will keep the donation bowls around the property to continue raising money for charity in her honor.

“It’s sad for the rest of us but wonderful for her to end like this. I know she’s smiling down on us now,” Wittry said.