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Old Man Who Found Family Dies In Bicycle Accident

July 12, 1985

CONSTANTIA, N.Y. (AP) _ An 83-year-old man, reunited with his family last year after hearing a piano tune played by a long-lost sister, was struck by a car and killed while bicycling home to his isolated cabin.

Albert Hyde had thought himself alone in the world when he heard his sister, Mary McKnight, playing at a senior citizens’ center in the community of Central Square. He had not seen her in 62 years, since she was 13.

He was pronounced dead Saturday at a Syracuse hospital. Mary McKnight collapsed of grief and exhaustion two days after his death and could not attend his funeral on Tuesday, relatives said.

″We just get to meet him a little less than a year. I think God give me him back and took him away from me,″ said Myrtle Nesbitt, another of Hyde’s sisters, who, prior last year’s reunion, had not seen her brother since 1948.

Hyde was struck by a car around noon Saturday while stopped on his bicycle along state Route 49 near Constantia, a small village about 15 miles northeast of Syracuse.

The driver, Kostack Piekiel, 69, told state police Hyde’s bicycle was partly in the roadway and he could not go avoid him because a car was approaching from the opposite direction.

Hyde, called a fastidious and reverent man by his friends, had lived alone in a cabin without running water since his wife’s death in 1976. He always wore a jacket and tie as he rode his bicycle several miles a day to fetch water and supplies.

Mrs. McKnight, of Rochester, had been visiting her sister, Mrs. Nesbitt, who lives in Central Square, a few miles from Constantia. Also surviving Hyde are sisters in Madrid, N.Y., and Richmond, Va. The family had broken up when the parents were divorced in the 1920s.

About 100 people attended Hyde’s funeral, including friends from the barber shop and restaurant in Constantia where he made daily stops.

State police investigator Norm Mattice said a probe of the accident was at a standstill because he had nothing to go on except the word of the driver.

Piekiel, the driver, sent flowers to the funeral home where Hyde’s body lay.

″I think God set us together so he’d know he had a family,″ Mrs. Nesbitt said of her brother. ″I feel very bad over it. ... It’s a funny world.″

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