Oct. 20, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Friends of a lifelong Astoria resident who died in a motorcycle crash Sunday have launched a fundraiser to support the man’s wife and two young daughters.
The fundraiser aims to raise money to help pay for college for Thomas Antonaccio’s two daughters, Giuliana, 13, and Gabriella, 11.
Antonaccio died while riding his motorcycle Sunday just days after his 49th birthday. He was born and raised in Astoria, met his wife Kimberly in the neighborhood and together they were raising his two daughters in the area. The family are members of St. Francis of Assisi Church and the girls attend school at the parish’s academy.
The family’s friends Artemis and Luca DiCiero started the fundraiser Tuesday. In just a day, it has already raised more than $46,000.
“In just a short amount of time, to see what’s been donated is heartwarming. It’s amazing,” Luca said. “It goes to show you how loved this family is.”
Luca grew up in Astoria with Kimberly, who he has known his whole life. Their parents were high school friends.
When Kimberly met Thomas about 20 years ago, Luca quickly became close with him as well and now the two families live around the block from one another.
“They’re like family to us,” Luca said.
He said he was devastated to learn of Thomas’ passing Sunday. Luca described him as an active, fun and caring friend and a hands-on father who went above and beyond for his two daughters.
“He was the kind of guy who if he saw something happening in the street, he would get involved to help,” Luca said. “That’s the way he was — he took action.”
Thomas was taking care of his 91-year-old grandmother and always had a great carefree, outlook on life, he added.
“He was always smiling, always happy,” Luca said.
He said that Thomas, his wife and daughters were extremely close-knit and always did everything together as a unit.
Luca hopes that the fundraiser — and outpouring of support — will bring some of Thomas’ positive energy to the family to help them get through the tragedy.
“Through the cracks of the [tragedy], this light is shining and penetrating through it just a little bit,” Luca said. “To see how loved Thomas was through the donations is beautiful.”
He said Thomas’ family is overwhelmed at the response.
He also credited the congregation at St. Francis of Assisi Church for supporting Kimberly, Giuliana and Gabriella through the tragedy.
There will be a wake for Thomas at Joseph FARENGA and Sons Inc. on Friday at 4 p.m. and a funeral mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church on Saturday at 9:45 a.m.