New York Daily News
Grand exit for Big Ang
Love & glitz at B’klyn rites
SHE WENT out in style.
Larger-than-life reality TV star Angela (Big Ang) Raiola was carried into a Brooklyn church in a shiny silver coffin as friends and family gathered to say their final farewell Monday.
“You left a mark on everyone’s heart, especially mine,” her sister, Janine Detore, told mourners outside Bensonhurst’s Basilica of Regina Pacis. “I was your biggest fan,” Detore added. The 55-year-old “Mob Wives” matriarch — who died Thursday after a battle with cancer — was remembered as someone who was quick to lend a helping hand to everyone.
“She had the biggest heart in the world,” said close friend Philip Palazzola.
“She was a wonderful, wonderful person. That’s all I can say.” she said.
The funeral home was decorated with a rose wreaths shaped like a puffy pair of red lips just like the reality star’s trademark look.
During the emotional ceremony, Msgr. David Cassato said he kept her picture on his desk.
“Every time I look at it, it brings back a memory — a beautiful memory — of my relationship with Big Ang,” he said.
“What is today all about?” he asked.
“Our memories. And each of us in this church has a beautiful memory of her,” Cassato said.
The raspy-voiced reality star was diagnosed last year with throat cancer and underwent several sur- geries. The disease spread to her brain and lungs in December. She died Thursday with her family at her bedside.
“I just want to go home,” she said before passing, according to Detore.
The lifelong smoker underwent chemotherapy, but did not respond to treatment.
Raiola, the niece of a reputed captain of the Genovese crime family, gave fans a look into her cancer battle on an episode of “Mob Wives.”
Before the funeral, Raiola’s prayer card handed out during her wake was being hawked on eBay for $2,000, according to a Staten Island Advance report.
Despite her fame, she always had time to assist friends, mourners said Monday.
“She made me realize that sometimes it doesn’t matter how grandiose a person is, and fabulous, and bigger than life,” friend Katherine Contino said Monday, as tears streamed down her cheeks. “They have humility about them. She’s going to be missed big-time,” Contino said.