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Friends speak lovingly of Chesterfield mother fatally struck by beach umbrella

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CHESTERFIELD, Va. – Friends spoke of Lottie Belk, the 55-year-old Chesterfield woman killed Wednesday by a flying beach umbrella. Belk was celebrating at Virginia Beach, for her upcoming birthday and her four-year May wedding anniversary.

Belk touched many lives, and Thursday was a hard day for friends and family. She is survived by two daughters, a stepson, a stepdaughter, and a husband.

"I would tell her my deepest secrets and she would tell me hers, so things I didn't even share with my own family, I shared with Lottie;  so she was a very dear friend,” said Melissa De Jesus Jean, a friend of Belk since 1995.

Melissa De Jesus Jean called Lottie her best friend.

Melissa De Jesus Jean called Lottie her best friend.

"I was in complete shock, I just screamed, I still can't believe it,” said Karen West Moten, a neighbor to Belk.

Moten pointed at the house Belk moved into just four years ago, where an Army flag is displayed – a branch of military in which she served.  Belk's oldest daughter Ashley Denton said her mother was a "loving lady" who worked in the mental health profession for many years.

She recently earned her Master's Degree in business from Strayer University.

Karen Moten couldn't believe the news

Karen Moten couldn't believe the news

"She was really all about family and she really loved nature and going to the beach, that was her favorite thing,” said De Jesus.

"She loved the beach, she loved being outside, she loved cookouts, family gatherings, she loved to eat,” Moten agreed. “Her favorite thing was a steak and a glass of wine.”

The Incident

The umbrella struck Belk Wednesday at about 5 p.m. when high winds sent the anchored umbrella flying across the sand.

"It was pretty windy down here," witness Hugh Martin said. "Saw the umbrella go up in the air, and literally hit the woman, knocking her to the side."

As lifeguards and other witnesses rushed to Belk's aide, police were called to the beach around 33rd Street to respond to what was described as a cardiac arrest.

Lottie Belk

Lottie Belk

"It was probably the most scariest things I've ever seen," Martin said.

Belk was rushed to a Virginia Beach hospital where she later died.

"There is no evidence of foul play," a Virginia Beach spokesperson said.

"I don't understand why they didn't remove the umbrellas from the beach, because of the wind," Moten said, shaking her head. "I don't understand it, it breaks my heart to know that she's gone,” Moten said.

Anyone with additional information about this situation can send a news tip here.

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