In the few days since Mob Wives star Big Ang tragically passed away on Thursday, February 18, her friends and neighbors on Staten Island are already sharing the many memories they have of the larger-than-life personality.
Angela “Big Ang” Raiola was born and raised in Brooklyn, but moved to Staten Island about two decades ago, her close friend Lori Falcone told Us Weekly, and she had become a staple of the community ever since.
“Everybody in the area loved her,” Falcone exclusively told Us. “Every neighbor in Staten Island loves her.… I think everybody had the same feelings for her. Even strangers.… Like, she would just give you the shirt off her back.”
Falcone, who bartends at the Funkey Monkey, which Raiola used to co-own and frequent, added that the outspoken personality that fans saw on TV was not too different from the bighearted friend she had grown up with.
“She was always a star,” Falcone said. “Everybody loved her, before the TV world. She always had different haircuts. Different hairstyles. Always well dressed. And her children were always dressed to the nines. Even when she was just a bartender.… I looked up to her when I was a teenager. But she worked hard for that stuff. You know, she did.”
Raiola died following a battle with cancer on Thursday at the age of 55. Her sister, Janine Detore, told Us that the VH1 star was ready to say goodbye.
“She was so at peace with death,” Detore told Us. “She was OK with it. She said she didn’t want to live being on the medicine, doing all that. She didn’t want to do that. And she said, ‘If it’s my time, it’s my time. Just tell me. I want to spend my time with the grandchildren and with my family.’ She wanted to be home and all that.”
The reality star’s Staten Island abode is already up for sale.
According to TMZ, Raiola’s recognizable turqoise-blue home, which was frequently featured on the show, is up for sale with a price tag of $1 million.
Her longtime pal and real estate broker, Laird Klein, tells the site that Raiola made many renovations on the estate over the years, so that it now “reflects her personality, her level of style, her persona for life.”
Four visitations will be held at the Scarpaci Funeral Home in Brooklyn, and a formal memorial service will be held on Monday, February 22, at the Basilica of Regina Pacis in Brooklyn.
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