Kara Leo's husband Jared Quinteros was also injured in the incident, and was paralyzed, according to a GoFundMe

By Rachel DeSantis
June 23, 2021 11:10 AM
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Jared and Kara
Kara Leo and Jared Quinteros
| Credit: gofundme

A mother of two beloved in her Pennsylvania community for her sense of humor and her popular bakery was killed in a freak accident while on a hike with her husband.

Kara Leo, 40, was hiking along the Morton Ravine Trail in Boyce Mayview Park on Thursday night when she was struck by a fallen tree branch, according to a release from officials in Upper St. Clair and her obituary.

Leo, of South Fayette, died the next morning at UPMC Mercy hospital, while her husband, Jared Quinteros, suffered serious injuries. He was paralyzed in the incident, according to a GoFundMe page.

"Jared and Kara were both the epitome of what it means to be a genuinely good person and always offered to help anyone with anything they could," the page said. "It is time for us to pull together and help them out."

Leo was a mom to sons Oliver and Owen, and was well-known in town as the owner and operator of KaraKakes in Mt. Lebanon, according to her obituary.

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Jeff Iovino, who owns the deli next door to KaraKakes and who grew up across the street from Leo, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review she was "the best."

"She was just the sweetest person in the world. She loved to create, she loved what she did, she loved her family, she loved to be outside. She was just a great person all the way around," he said. "She fit into the neighborhood very quickly and worked very well with everybody because of her joyful personality."

Iovino said Leo's bakery specializes in nut-free and gluten-free desserts, often leading her to joke, "I'm the only nut here, so you're safe."

On the GoFundMe page - which has so far raised nearly $200,000 for her family - one person wrote that she found Leo's bakery while searching for a birthday cake that her son, who has nut allergies, could enjoy.

"Kara took such good care of me with such grace and peace," the person wrote. "I instinctually knew that she was such a genuinely GOOD person and looked forward to many more future interactions. I'm so sad that this time will not come again but am thankful that I was able to meet her."

Leo was a 1999 graduate of Mt. Lebanon High School and a 2003 graduate of Johnson & Wales University, where she earned a degree in baking and pastry arts, according to her obituary.

In the obituary, Leo's family thanked the doctors, nurses, social workers and staff at UPMC Mercy, as well as first responders and a Good Samaritan who administered CPR to Leo shortly after the accident.