Antoinette 'Mama' D'Amato laid to rest

The coffin of Antoinette D'Amato, followed by family,

The coffin of Antoinette D'Amato, followed by family, is carried into Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church for the funeral Mass on Monday April 28, 2014 in Island Park. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Antoinette D'Amato, the mother of former U.S. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, was buried Monday after a funeral Mass at the Island Park church she had attended each Sunday.

Her coffin was carried from the Sacred Heart Parish Center, which was filled with dozens of flower arrangements, across the street to the small church as a bell tolled.

Antoinette D'Amato, who was known as Mama, died Thursday in her Island Park home. She was 99.

"Antoinette was the heart and soul of the D'Amato family, which means she was the heart and soul of Island Park," said Kate Murray, supervisor of the Hempstead Town, where Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican, served as presiding supervisor before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

About 100 people filled the church, including family, friends and political figures such as former Gov. George Pataki and Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano.

Mangano called her, "an iconic grandma, mother and friend to all in Nassau County."

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Pataki said Antoinette and his own mother became friends. "She was not just the mother of the D'Amatos but of all of New York. We all loved her," Pataki said.

"I loved her," said Gary Melius, owner of Oheka Castle and a longtime friend of Alfonse D'Amato. Melius recalled that when he traveled with her to Italy around 2008, she walked faster than everyone else. "She was sweet, smart and gutsy. She called it like she saw it," said Melius.

"My heart breaks for the family," said Denise Ford, a Nassau County legislator from Long Beach who is a registered Democrat but a member of the GOP majority.

"Al . . . would always regale us with stories about how his mother ran the dinner table," Ford said.

Antoinette D'Amato was born Feb. 22, 1915, in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, the second of three children. She graduated from Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

In 1935, she married Armand D'Amato and the couple bought a small home on Ostend Avenue in Island Park where they raised their children: Alfonse, Armand Jr. and Joanne, all of whom survive her, along with 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. Armand D'Amato Sr. died in 2010; he was 97.

Antoinette D'Amato was buried at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale with her rosary.

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