Fund honors 23-year-old killed on Bell Boulevard

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Relatives of Angelina M. Bruno have kicked off a campaign...

By Alexander Dworkowitz

The family and friends of a College Point woman known for her infectious smile have started a memorial fund in her honor five years after she was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Bay Terrace.

Relatives of Angelina M. Bruno have kicked off a campaign to raise money for a scholarship at College Point’s St. Agnes High School, from which Bruno graduated in 1992.

“I wanted to do something for her,” said Bruno’s mother, Mary Rivelesse, who came up with the idea of the fund. “I want her name to go on. I want people to remember her, and other girls will benefit.””

Angelina Bruno, who was born in Astoria and moved to College Point with her family at a young age, was injured in a hit-and-run accident as she tried to cross Bell Boulevard in June 1998. She died in the hospital about a month later at the age of 23. No one was ever arrested in the case.

After graduating from St. Agnes, Bruno attended Grace Institute, a business school, for a year, her sister said. She later took a secretarial position at Gazebo Contracting Inc., a construction company, where several family members worked.

Rose Bongiovanni, Bruno’s manager at Gazebo, said Bruno was always looking to help.

“She was just a great person, a fine person,” she said. “She would go out of the way for everyone.”

Bruno was pursuing an accounting degree at Queensborough Community College before her death, said her brother, Benny.

“She had a future going,” he said.

Rosalie Bruno, Angelina’s identical twin sister, said the scholarship would go to a student exemplifying the qualities that defined her sister, whom she described as hardworking, outgoing and aggressive.

“Some people are very passive and let things happen to them,” Rosalie Bruno said. “She was someone who if she wanted something done, she would go out and do it.”

While the money raised this year will go to a scholarship at St. Agnes, the memorial fund may go to other causes n the future, Rosalie Bruno said.

Angelina Bruno and her longtime friends called their group “the bouffant posse,” known for their big hair, said Daniella Rondanelli, a friend of Bruno’s since the first grade.

“She was just so funny,” Rondanelli said. “She had something about her that always made you laugh.”

Rondanelli described Angelina Bruno as “carefree and innocent.”

“She wasn’t scared of anything,” Rondanelli said.

Rosalie Bruno said she and her sister were often mistaken for one another. In high school, the two once decided to switch classes, escaping the notice of their teachers until the end of their sessions, Rosalie Bruno said.

Angelina Bruno took a strong interest in karate at a young age, advancing to a brown belt, her friends said.

Tricia Newbert, a friend of Bruno’s, recalled spending time with Bruno just a week before the car accident.

Newbert remembered Bruno coming into her room and helping her finish a paper so they could dance that night.

“She sat down with me and helped me bang out a couple of pages just so we could go out,” she said.

Benny Bruno said it was difficult to recall all the memories of his older sister.

“I could rattle on forever,” he said.

For information on the fund, call 718-728-1770, Ext. 6.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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