SOMERS, N.Y. -- Scores of attendees gathered at St. Joseph's Church in Somers on Thursday for the funeral of Frances Ghelarducci, a teaching aide at nearby Primrose Elementary School who died in a Saturday vehicle collision in Mahopac.
Ghelarducci, a 54-year-old beloved mother and grandmother who lived in Mahopac, was remembered for her role as a family matriarch.
In a letter read at the service, Ghelarducci's husband, Steven, called her a "rock that our family leaned on."
"You will be in our hearts and minds forever," wrote Steven Ghelarducci, who was married to his wife for more than three decades. The pair first met at the Bronx Zoo when they were only 18 year olds, the letter's reader noted.
"I love you so much," said Ghelarducci's son, Joseph, who vowed to give his own kids that same unconditional love and support that she provided.
"Your legacy is now mine," he said.
The service was interspersed with prayers and hymns before Father Philip Caruso offered communion to attendees.
In his sermon, Caruso spoke about the importance of people loving each other.
"We should have enough time for one another," he said.
Once services inside were completed, Ghelarducci's casket was brought outside and placed in a hearse. Moments later, a long line gathered as people placed pink roses onto the casket. A drizzle of rain fell and a bell tolled during the latter moment.
The driver of the other vehicle involved in a collision, according to state police, was Richard O’Keefe, a 57-year-old Mahopac resident. He has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, which is a felony, vehicular homicide, which is also a felony, and driving while intoxicated, which is a misdemeanor.
O’Keefe is a former Carmel policeman, a former Carmel councilman and a former Mahopac school board member, Carmel Supervisor Kenneth Schmitt confirmed to Daily Voice earlier this week. O'Keefe is also Schmitt's former brother-in-law.
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