Myriam Román loved to take care of the orchids, poinsettias, and plants on the porch of her family's Vineland home.
Naturally, Román loved the Philadelphia Flower Show, too. She went often over the years, sometimes taking a chartered bus from South Jersey to the city.
She was planning to go again last week when a tragedy unfolded in the Vineland shopping center parking lot where she and about 50 others had gathered, as part of a Flower Show trip organized by a local resident.
The bus driver was pulling away to pick up a different bus — this one had some mechanical problems — when Román walked in front of it, police said. The bus then struck Román, 83, killing her. The driver, who police said did not see her, has not been charged.
More than 500 people attended Román's visitation Thursday and Friday at Saint Padre Pio Parish— a testament, her family says, to how many lives she touched.
Román was born in Bogotá, Colombia — she didn't like when people misspelled it "Columbia" — and met her late husband, David, at Bogotá's Hotel Tequendama, where they both worked.
They came in 1956 to South Jersey, where Myriam had family, and decided to make a home in Vineland, where they raised three children between jobs at a local glass company.
Family members called Myriam "Mama." She was fluent in English, Spanish, and French, and she loved to travel.
She went to Aruba with friends last December. Later this year, she was planning to take a Caribbean cruise.
"She'd go on any trip that would get her in the sun," said her granddaughter, Valentina, 29, a graduate student at the University of Michigan.
Román rented a home in Sea Isle each year and invited her children and grandchildren. She read her Kindle on the beach and kept up with the news. She was a big fan of the Phillies and Villanova basketball.
Age also never slowed her down.
Román exercised for an hour three to five days a week at the YMCA pool in Vineland, where she liked to pull herself out on the ledge, rather than use the steps.
"She was healthy, feisty," said Cara Morello, the facility's director of administration.
Román also volunteered at Inspira Medical Center, where she delivered flowers and helped discharge patients. She took great pride in still being able to wheel people out at her age, her family said.
Román's husband died of a heart attack in 2005, on their 49th wedding anniversary. She then moved in with her daughter, Connie, and her husband, Per, in Vineland.
On Monday, they still had the flowers up on the porch.
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