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Christmas Crash Victim Was a 'Beautiful Person,' Co-Worker Says

Eileen Racioppi, a volunteer at Winchester Gardens Retirement Community in Maplewood for 30 years, was killed in a crash Christmas night.

Winchester Gardens Retirement Community in Maplewood. Credit: Maplewood Patch.
Winchester Gardens Retirement Community in Maplewood. Credit: Maplewood Patch.

Eileen Racioppi was working as a volunteer at a local senior citizens home on Christmas night shortly before she was killed in a car crash in Hanover Township, according to an nj.com report.

Racioppi volunteered as a concierge at Winchester Gardens Retirement Community in Maplewood every Sunday and every holiday for the past 30 years, said Carol Cross, a co-worker at the Winchester.

“We worked together for 15 and a half years,” said Cross. “She was a beautiful person, a lovely woman and it was a pleasure to know her.”

Racioppi was returning to her daughter's home in Denville — where she lived with her husband, Robert, and her grandchildren — on Christmas night, when her vehicle went off the road, nj.com reported.

Her 1999 Cadillac left the roadway and sideswiped a utility pole before continuing north, where it struck a small cluster of trees, the report said.

According to the report, several motorists stopped to assist Racioppi and were able to speak with her but she was not responsive or breathing by the time Patrol Officer Bryan Pilipie arrived at the scene.

According to her obituary, Racioppi's funeral services were held on Monday. She was 72.

“It's very hard,” said Cross. “We were more than co-workers, we were very close. She was always busy with her grandchildren, her grandchildren were her life.”

“I have all good memories of her,” said Cross. “We had a Christmas luncheon on December 12 and we sat together and had a good time. That is how I want to remember her. We had a lot of good laughs and it was a lovely, lovely afternoon.”

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