Funeral held for Farmingdale 'matriarch' of school band after tragic bus crash

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Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Farmingdale 'matriarch' of school band laid to rest after tragic bus crash
Beatrice Ferrari was described as a pillar in the Farmingdale community. She was tragically killed when a bus she was riding crashed into a ravine. Anthony Carlo has the story.

FARMINGDALE, Nassau County (WABC) -- Beatrice Ferrari was known as the grandmother of the band, and matriarch of not only her family, but the Farmingdale High School community.

Family, friends, and former students gathered Wednesday inside St. Kilian's Church to say goodbye to the beloved former social studies teacher.

Even after she retired from teaching for nearly 30 years, she continued to volunteer as a chaperone on school band camp trips at 77-years-old - earning the reputation as being the heart and soul of the marching band program.

"It's so sad that we have to lose her when she was doing such a wonderful thing for her students and her community," said fellow parishioner Elsa Gomez.

A police escort led the hearse down Conklin Street in Farmingdale, carrying the esteemed educator as her family stood by - overcome with grief.

Ferrari was a grandmother who wanted to be a big part of her grandchildren's lives. One of her grandsons - a junior at Farmingdale High School - was the trumpet section player in the school's music program. Her family says she was so proud of him.

"She couldn't even go to the band camp anymore, they bought her a golf cart and she was still able to make it around," said Leonardo Najah, Ferrari's grandson's best friend. "And the students just really love her."

Though retired, Ferrari served as a chaperone on the annual band camp trip.

That trip, unfortunately, ended in tragedy.

Ferrari was killed last week in route to Farmingdale's annual band camp trip to Pennsylvania when the charter bus careened off I-84 in Orange County. Her grandson was also on the trip but was in one of the buses behind Ferrari.

She was remembered Wednesday as a rock in her family and community.

"She loved her students," said Karen Guardino, who is also a retired Farmingdale High School teacher. "She would get them through the school year, make sure they graduated and I knew her family. She was a strong loving force in her family."

Ferrari's funeral is the first of two this week.

She died along with beloved school band director Gina Pellettiere, who will be laid to rest on Thursday.

ALSO READ | Farmingdale superintendent says students injured in bus crash expected to recover

A bus carrying Farmingdale High School students rolled down an embankment on I-84 in Wawayanda, Orange County on Thursday. Derick Waller has the latest.


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