Sparta remembers family as close-knit, hard-working

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:18

    SPARTA(AP)nFrom their sumptuous meals to the attention they paid their home, friends and neighbors have myriad memories of Anthony and Beverly Stassi, killed in a car accident along with their youngest daughter as they traveled to a holiday gathering in Virginia. "They were fun people, and we'll miss them dearly," said Lisa Levy, a family friend who lives in Roxbury. The Stassis' 12-year-old daughter, Stephanie, survived the wreck, which also killed the Pennsylvania man whose truck veered across I-95 and struck the family's minivan head-on Friday morning. Pennsylvania State Police on Saturday said the accident was still being investigated. Authorities said it was a miracle that Stephanie survived the crash near an exit for Bristol Township, Pa. She and 10-year-old Samantha had been sitting in the minivan's third row of seats when a pickup truck driven by Ronald A. Matecki, 26, of Fairless Hills, Pa., swerved from northbound lanes, across the median and into their southbound vehicle. The Stassis, all wearing seat belts, were heading to Alexandria, Va., to see the children's grandparents, authorities said. Friends and neighbors said the Stassis were a close-knit family whose adults invested a lot of time in their children's activities: karate classes, sports practices and music lessons. Samantha played the violin and Stephanie plays the clarinet, said Wayne Krulikowsky, a neighbor. "They were there, showing up to everything," he said. "You can see they were very much into the family thing. You could see there were strong family ties." The Stassis, both 43, threw themselves into home repair following their move from New York City about a decade ago, friends said. They meticulously painted their home blue, persevering even after Anthony Stassi tumbled from a ladder while working on the house. "We used to bust his chops about it, because we just couldn't believe he was still alive after that," Levi recalled. Anthony Stassi worked in the pharmaceutical industry. Beverly Stassi, who neighbors said enjoyed serving multi-course meals, worked for Charles Street Securities in New York for more than 10 years. "She was kind, loyal, diligent and devoted," said Gerard Mizrahi, the company's president. Stephanie was being cared for by an aunt near Philadelphia following the accident. Krulikowsky, whose daughter was caring for the Stassis' two kittens during their trip, said their neighborhood in Sussex County was stunned by the news. "It's a quiet area, and it's even more quiet now," he said.