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‘Lost without her’: Family mourns area woman who died in crash

Patty Dzugalo, 61, was on her way to the family cottage when the incident occurred Feb. 26 at about 5:20 a.m.
Patty Dzugalo, 61, died in a single-vehicle crash in Innisfil Feb. 26.

To Ashley Broadbridge, she was simply known as Aunt Patty.

But Patty Dzugalo, 61, had so many other aliases to which she became fond of over the years: Amazing wife, daughter, mother, sister, aunt, friend and Nanna. Dzugalo died in a single-vehicle crash in Innisfil on Feb. 26; police found her without vital signs around 5:20 a.m., her 2009 black Dodge Avenger flipped over in a ditch and submerged in water on the 10th Sideroad, south of the 3rd Line.

Dzugalo, who lived in Brampton and worked for Toys R Us for 35 years, was the lone person in the vehicle, on her way to meet her nephew at the family cottage in Innisfil. She was an early riser, known to have coffee with her husband each morning, well before the sun would appear.

“She was bubbly and always trying to put a smile on everyone’s face,” Broadbridge told InnisfilToday. “She was just so loving. She always had to say she loved you. She was just the best. She always wanted to help out and make people feel good. We are all lost without her. This has been so hard for our family and friends. None of us were expecting this.”

Dzugalo also has four surviving sisters, as well as a daughter and two grandchildren.

Wasaga Beach resident Patty Matty had been Dzugalo’s best friend since the age of five. They hung out at the Innisfil cottage — which became her beloved sanctuary and getaway spot — frequently during their adolescent years, often going to dances at a local hall and chatting about their boyfriends.

“We had a lifetime of memories together; we had good times, bad times, sad times,” Matty said. “She was an extraordinary, fun-loving, caring person who shouldn’t have had to die this way. She knew how to hold a lifetime bond of friendship. She loved to laugh. She was never mean, but if she was, she’d let you know. She had such a good soul. We were supposed to meet up for coffee this week. It just didn’t happen. We lost such a beautiful soul at such a young age. I want my dear friend to rest in peace. I pray to God she didn’t suffer.”

Dzugalo loved to dance and listen to music — among her favourite songs were December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) and Seasons in the Sun. She also enjoyed landscaping, and would relish, too, the opportunity to do special gift baskets for birthdays.

South Simcoe police spoksperson Sue Sgambati said officers attempted “life-saving efforts … at the scene, (but) the victim was pronounced deceased after being transported to hospital.”

Broadbridge has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help family members pay for funeral costs. As of Thursday morning, it had collected $1,120 through 19 separate donations — the goal is to raise $12,000.

“I’m doing this just to help any way I can,” she said.

Planning cannot begin until the family gets more information from the coroner, who is looking into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

“We’re just waiting,” Broadbridge said. “She was fine when she left. Once the coroner calls the husband and lets him know the cause of death ... we can set up.”

Investigators want anyone with information or dash camera footage to contact Const. Carlos Pinho at 705-436-2141, ext. 2017, or [email protected], or leave an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or

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Chris Simon

About the Author: Chris Simon

Chris Simon is an award-winning journalist who has written for publications throughout Simcoe County and York Region. He is the current Editor of BradfordToday and InnisfilToday and has about two decades of experience in the sector
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