I just finished reading the absolutely heartbreaking obituary for Gianna Palmieri.

Gianna is the Pinelands Regional High School student who died from injuries she received in a crash on Jan 30, when a driver crossed the centerline and hit the car she and her friend were traveling in, on their way to get frozen yogurt.

Both girls were airlifted to the hospital in critical condition. The driver of the other car, Michael Pillarella, 26, of Manahawkin, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter  and vehicular homicide.

Gianna died on Feb 9. She would have turned 17 this weekend.

Her obituary fondly recalls the interests of a girl who obviously loved life.

...an honor student who was looking forward to her induction into the National Honor Society.  She enjoyed participating in school clubs and activities such as Interact and Wildcats in Action.  She enjoyed supporting the wrestling team; she was the Wrestling Manager for four years and was looking forward to this year’s season.  Her love for dancing with the Spotlight Competition Team led to her dancing in the school musicals.


As I read these sad memories of a cherished girl taken from a family far too young, I can only think about my own daughters, who are just few years younger than Gianna, and how I would feel if I had to write loving memories of them under these circumstances.

Gianna loved music.  She played piano and sang along to every song on the radio, regardless of its genre.  She enjoyed sewing and organizing her closet.  It could never be too organized for Gianna.  She loved to travel and planned on seeing the world.  A true animal lover, she cared for them all.  Most of all, she was a daddy’s girl who just loved spending time with her brother, Gerard.

Gianna was kind and compassionate, always putting others before herself.  She saw the beauty in everything and everybody.  Her gentle soul will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing her.

The entire community mourns for this gentle soul and for her devastated family.

It's at times like this when you realize how inadequate words can be. Still, our profound condolences to the Palmieri family.

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