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Farmingdale community gathers for funeral for retired history teacher Beatrice Ferrari, killed in I-84 bus crash

Farmingdale community gathers for funeral for beloved Beatrice Ferrari, killed in I-84 bus crash
Farmingdale community gathers for funeral for beloved Beatrice Ferrari, killed in I-84 bus crash 02:09

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- A Long Island community is saying goodbye to two beloved educators.

The women, described as pillars of Farmingdale, were killed in last week's bus crash in Orange County.

On Wednesday, hundreds of loved ones and friends gathered for the the first of two funerals this week.

After days of rain, the sun was beaming over St. Kilian Roman Catholic Church. It was fitting for the funeral of Beatrice Ferrari, a woman who was a light in so many lives.

"She was sweet, kind, religious, loving, caring," parishioner Elsa Gomez said.

Church bells echoed outside, as a casket was carefully carried inside, followed by family members who were surrounded with love entering a full church.

"It was a testimony to the kind of woman she was and is," said Father Michael Duffy, a former priest at St. Kilian and the current rector at St. Agnes Cathedral.

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Ferrari, 77, was retired history teacher and a woman of faith. She and her husband renewed their vows at St. Kilian last year for their 50th wedding anniversary.

She was devoted wife and a loving mother and grandmother.

"She was my confidant, my supporter, my defender, my best friend. We are who we are because of her," her daughter said.

Ferrari's daughters spoke of her impact as a teacher of 36 years, sharing she loved her students with all her heart. Even after retirement, she joined them at band camp and built a special relationship with band director Gina Pellittiere, whose life was also cut short in last week's bus crash.

"Their friendship grew to become more than colleagues. Mom loved Gina like another daughter," a daughter said. "She loved and looked forward to band camp, 31 years in total."

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Many left the moving Mass saying it paid tribute to who Ferrari was and the legacy she leaves behind.

"One of my best friend's grandmothers and she was a grandmother to me, too. She always took care of me and my friends. It's really a devastating loss," Leonardo Najah said.

"She was a phenomenal woman. As you can see, the love and outpouring for her has just been sensational. I've never seen anything like this," said family friend Donald Kahn.

"It was just a beautiful way to celebrate such a beautiful soul. She will be missed by many," friend Stephanie Karcher added.

It's a difficult week for the Farmingdale community. On Thursday, the funeral for Pellittiere will be held. The high school will be closed so students can attend.

A wake was held on Wednesday for Pellittiere. Her funeral will take place at Our Lady of Lourdes in Massapequa Park.

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