Woman killed in bike collision was just 3 weeks from wedding

Anna Deis and her fiance, Jason Cooper.
Anna Deis and her fiance, Jason Cooper. Courtesy photo

Whether it was taking in stray cats or opening her home to a friend in need, Anna Marie Deis was the type of person who gave without reservation.

"She went above and beyond to help anyone, and she loved everyone," said Rose Deis Graham, Anna's older sister, who lives in Missouri. "She was very creative, very artsy and believed in family values."

Deis, 25, died Wednesday as a result of injuries sustained in a bike collision with a tan Lincoln Continental on Los Osos Valley Road, east of Turri Road. Deis, a local floral designer, was cycling with her fiance, Jason Cooper, when the collision occurred at 6:42 p.m. Wednesday.

Deis was pedaling across Los Osos Valley Road and had made it across two eastbound lanes when she was struck on the side of her bicycle by the vehicle traveling in the single westbound lane, said Richard Lee, CHP spokesman.

"It was dark out there, and there were no street lights," Lee said. "The driver of the Lincoln didn't see her. She was also not wearing a helmet. We are making a big push that bicyclists should be wearing helmets and occupants in vehicles should be wearing seatbelts."

The driver of the car, Earle Raymond Murie Jr., 86, of San Luis Obispo, was heading to Los Osos with his wife. They were not injured, Lee said.

Deis was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead at 10:35 p.m. Wednesday. Her family is still determining whether her organs can be used for donation, Deis Graham said.

The couple, who had planned to marry in three weeks, had just visited the La Familia Pumpkin Patch at 4747 Los Osos Valley Road, Deis Graham said, when the accident happened.

"It was going to be a small wedding at a chapel in Morro Bay," said Deis Graham of the upcoming nuptials. "Obviously, knowing the tricks of the trade and her mom (owner of D&D Floral Design in Los Osos) being a florist, she had a lot of help from local people in the community."

An avid cyclist, Deis was training for the AIDS/LifeCycle event, Deis Graham said, and had recently started riding again after recovering from hip surgery last year.

While she enjoyed cycling, Deis, who attended Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo high schools, was passionate about her work as a florist, arranging flowers for weddings and bridal shows. Deis' mother, Debbie, has been a florist for at least 30 years, Deis Graham said, and Deis worked closely with her mother and wanted to take over the business one day.

Deis studied floral design in San Francisco and volunteered for Phoenix Decorating Company, which builds floats for the Rose Parade in Pasadena.

"Last year, she was chosen as an assistant florist and was able to do arrangements on a float," Deis Graham said.

Friend Rachelle Nyswonger remembered Deis as someone determined to pursue her dreams as a top floral designer. Nyswonger said Deis was planning to take a test in July to obtain her American Institute of Floral Designers certification and was going to be working with her on a float for the Rose Parade. She was to receive a phone call Thursday confirming her work on the float.

"I had just texted her yesterday to say she was on my team for the Rose Parade this year," said Nyswonger, an AIFD certified florist who owns a flower shop in Chico. "I met her about two years ago, and she was just a light. When you met her, you just wanted to be her friend."

Deis also loved working on model trains with her dad, Paul Deis, who lives in Paso Robles.

The family is working on funeral arrangements and has no further information at this time.

If there is anything Deis would want people to know, it would be not to take life for granted, Graham said.

"I would say you certainly never know when it will be your last day, so make sure that you wake up every day and appreciate living to the fullest."

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