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Thursday 18 April, 2024
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Gina Pellettiere and Beatrice Ferrari, killed in NY bus crash

BY Anas Shah Sep 23, 2023. 12:46 am UPDATED: Sep 23, 2023. 12:46 am

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The single mother of a 2-year-old son who was murdered in an upstate New York bus crash was the Long Island high school band director, one of two teachers killed in the crash.

Gina Pellettiere, 43, died along with Beatrice Ferrari, 77, a retired history teacher lovingly known as the “cute and cuddly grandma” of Farmingdale High School’s marching band.

“Gina Pellettiere, you will be beyond deeply missed,” one friend, Joe Ingoglia, wrote in a moving Facebook tribute soon after the news broke.

“We all lost one of the greatest souls around. One of the strongest mothers you will ever come in contact with. A woman filled with joy and laughter and has inspired so many,” he said.

“I promise you, little Joseph will be taken care of by your amazing music community,” he said of her young son.

The teachers were killed when their bus, one of six in a convoy headed to a band concert in Pennsylvania, collapsed and tumbled 50 feet down a ravine off Interstate 84 in Orange County near Wawayanda.

Five pupils were also critically injured.

One of Pellettiere’s “very close neighbors,” Amanda Cerami, told The Post on Friday that she was recalled as “an amazing friend, an amazing community member, and an amazing teacher.”

Gina Pellettiere

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“I would see her all the time outside playing outside with her son,” said Cerami, who believes the boy is being cared for by his grandparents.

“She was very family-oriented,” Cerami said. “Every Sunday, her family was over. They would have a big Italian feast. Every Sunday.”

Ferrari, meanwhile, was retired after teaching at the school for more than 30 years — but still regularly volunteered, including every year for the band camp trip.

“Bea had an omnipresent smile on her face as she ran band camp,” local attorney Ralph Morales wrote in a moving Facebook tribute.

“She had a smile and an encouraging word for every child as she rode around the camp in a golf cart that was dubbed the ‘B-Mobile.’

“She was everyone’s cute and cuddly grandma, but when crisis occurred during band camp, she instantly shed her grandma persona and became an unparalleled leader who was in total control,” he said. “She was amazing.”

Ferrari is survived by her husband, Renato, her daughters, Dina Lopresto and Angela Ferrari, and her four grandchildren, who affectionately knew her as “Mimi.”

“Everyone adored her — her students, her children, her grandchildren,” a family friend told The Post.

“As far as a teacher, she believed in all of her students and got them to their fullest potential. She was honest and fair and the epitome of what a person should be. She believed in them and pushed them to do their best.”

“She will be terribly missed. We were laughing, telling stories. It’s a tragedy.”

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Outside Ferrari’s home on Friday stood a tall candle that said “Daler Strong. Forever in our hearts” with little tea light candles in front of it.

The five students left in critical condition from the crash had not been identified Friday. There were also no immediate updates on their conditions.

Outside their school, candles were lit for them and their late teachers, along with a sign reading: “We love you so much.”

“The palpable grief that our community faces for having lost both Ms. P and Bea is profoundly upsetting,” Morales wrote in his Facebook post. “We will forever miss these iconic women, beloved leaders and inspiring educators.

“We are better people for having known Gina and Bea,” he said. “May their souls rest in peace.”

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