A family remembrance for a local woman always active in the community
BY FRAN BONACCI, daughter of Fran Bonacci
Known to cause a stir doing such things as trying to keep Shop-Rite open or fighting for your West Haverstraw garbage men, to name a few; working in CH Martin, Auctioneer’s Outlet, and finally, Baxter’s Pharmacy for the last nine years of your life. The plaza was running out of stores for you to work in!
Your Baxter’s customers needed you as did the staff. Even if you worked a little slower than everyone else, and complained about all those balloon orders every time they came in, as if you worked on Wall Street. Or, made one of us drop you off late after a Sunday family outing to drop the newspaper envelope off, only because helping out was worth more than money ever was to you.
Whether it was telling an elderly woman what aisle the butt cream was in, or helping stock the cigarettes, you would go above and beyond. But even the staff and customers of stores you didn’t work for knew who you were.
So many neighbors, Samsondale Plaza residents, and North Rockland friends have already said that there was no one who cared about others as much as you did and how their neighborhood and lives will never be the same without you checking up on everyone and anyone.
After 74 years on this earth, you taught us how to be caring, loving, selfless, silly, and persistent. Anyone that was lucky enough to know you knows that you would do anything for anyone, whether stranger or relative. You made us laugh with all of your wacky stories about people we didn’t know, one of your “friends around the corner,” coworkers, or even the soap opera celebrities on shows we never watched.
You would start a sentence as if we knew who or what you were talking about and then we would say, “Mom, what the heck are you talking about?” Calling us randomly, telling us about traffic reports even though you had not driven since you were 15, reminding us about closed roads we didn’t even travel on.
We cannot forget how long it took us to teach you to use a VCR and can giggle thinking of you checking your voicemail on your cell phone after you finally learned how. I would always tease you and say, “Mom, I’m so proud of you. My little girl is growing up.” We sadly laugh now as we talk about you. We didn’t expect you to leave us so early and everyone you knew is now in shock.
Whether checking on a neighbor’s mail while they were away, mailing a card for someone you barely knew, or shoveling a snowy path for the Samsondale residents, you helped everyone. We learned a lot from you. You are so greatly missed already and I don’t know how we are going to go on without you.
You lived each day no matter how badly your bones or head ached, whatever weather ailments you had, or how tired you were. Taking care of so many ill family members, your husband, aunt, uncle, and your own mother for two years before she had passed. You never gave up on making sure they were kept as well as you could keep them.
You sat by the phone regularly, waiting for coworkers to ask you to cover their shift, or for a call to babysit your grandson. We didn’t always understand why you lived the way you did or had certain routines, but we have come to realize that it was just what made you comfortable.
Our family stayed together and close because of you. You were the boss and even though we sometimes had to help you with various things, you were still our main concern. We will live as if you are still here with us.
We knew what it meant not being able to get a hold of you that last day. We pray you were not in pain and always knew how much we cared about you and loved you even if we had argued or been cranky with you.
As your daughter, I will never forget you pushing me to continue my education to have a career, getting up with me every morning to make sure I had all my stuff for work or how you would walk everywhere to run your errands or babysit Peter, Jr. at any split second. You gave so much and got so little in return but yet you got up every day making sure everyone was taken care of, except yourself.
We are in shock. You weren’t supposed to leave us so early.
Our lives will never be the same without you in it. We were blessed to have an angel in our lives and now to watch over us. Until we meet again in Heaven, keep us protected, just as you did here on earth.
You are forever in our hearts – Wife, Mother, Sister, Nana, Godmother, Aunt, Cousin, Coworker, Neighbor, and now, our Guardian Angel. This is not goodbye. This is just – see you later.
NOTE FROM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF DYLAN SKRILOFF:
Losing a Member of the Rockland County Times Extended Family
As editor-in-chief of the Rockland County Times, I have met a lot of wonderful and interesting people, especially in North Rockland. There have been certain people who have really helped along the way and Fran Bonacci was one of them.
Every time I visited Baxter’s Pharmacy, she talked up the Rockland County Times, and reminded me how many of the people who read it really love it. Any time there was a possible story in the community that might slip by otherwise undetected, she’d pick up the phone and call us. She single-handedly ensured copious coverage in the Rockland County Times of West Haverstraw garbage issues, an important local story that no other news outlet dug into.
She invited me to a family barbeque in Stony Point celebrating the first birthday of her grandson, where I had the pleasure of meeting her family, friends and extended family. She also made collecting monthly receipts for sales of the Rockland County Times easier than any other location, as she kept track of sales herself and had the bill ready before we even got there.
Thank you Fran for all you did for the Rockland County Times and the North Rockland community. We’ll miss you.