Andy Passero laid to rest
Mourners travelling along the Queen Elizabeth Way to attend the funeral of Fort Erie businessman Andy Passero passed a stark reminder of the final moments of their friend’s life.
Three wooden crosses mark the spot near Lyon’s Creek Road where Passero’s pick up truck left the road on Thursday and rolled over.
Both before and after the largely attended funeral mass at Saint Michael Roman Catholic Church in Fort Erie, several motorists had stopped along the highway to pay their respects at the roadside markers.
Passero, 39, the general manager of Rosehill Auction House, was killed Oct. 21 following a two vehicle crash that also seriously injured three people.
Well over 1,500 people attended the funeral at the Central Avenue church on Monday.
The church was full more than a hour before the funeral was to start.
To accommodate the crowds, the church hall was opened so mourners could watch the proceedings on close circuit television.
Hundreds of others stood at the back of the massive church as well as outside the building.
“This shows how much of an impact he had on the town,” said Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin.
“Everyone he met liked him. He was a genuine caring person.”
Rev. Randy Gallant agreed.
“This is a testament to the person Andy was. Andy was a very generous, loving person. He touched a lot of people. This was a tragedy in every sense of the word.”
Gallant told Passero’s family, “your memories, your faith and support of family and friends is what will help get you through the days and weeks and months.
After the service, a number of white doves were released outside as Passero’s casket was loaded onto a horse drawn hearse.
His family, including wife and two young sons, followed behind in a series of classic cars including a pink convertible Cadillac.
Passersby lined both sides of Central Avenue as the procession went by, lead by a Niagara police cruiser.
The Greater Fort Erie Minor Hockey association had a large delegation at the funeral,Cheap Jerseys china with members of the Fort Erie Meteors Junior B Hockey Club and its younger teams wearing their orange and black jerseys in honour of Passero, chairman of the atom minor hockey team.
“We needed to be here together so in our small way we could give back the way he gave to everyone he knew,” said Wayne Groulx, coach of the Greater Fort Erie Junior Meteors atom team.
“It won’t be the same without him but we have to be strong for the kids. They need to know they have a reason to play and a reason to look forward. Andy wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Every time we touch the ice, it will be a tribute to him.”
The Passero family has been involved in hockey for a number of years.
Rosehill Auction House sponsors the Junior Meteor Major Novice team.
Groulx said Passero was a mentor not only to the young players but also to everyone who knew him.
“He was a calming factor around all the kids and parents. He was my confidante. If I needed a shoulder to lean on, it was his.”
Passero ran in the November 2006 municipal election in Ward six, finishing in second place, and was involved with the Fort Erie Community Gaming Development Corporation.
Passero also co owned a number of racehorses through a partnership known as MAD Racing Stables.
Passero and his friend Scott Heron, also a partner in the racing venture, were on their way back from watching one of their horses race at Toronto’s Woodbine Race Track when the crash occurred.