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Past Newsmakers

Winter 2007

ANGELO D'AGOSTINO, a physician, psychiatrist and Jesuit priest who opened one of the first orphanages for abandoned HIV-positive children in Kenya, died Nov. 20, 2006 of cardiac arrest following surgery in Nairobi. He was 80. Called "Faza" by the children, he started the orphanage on his own in 1992 and raised funds so that today it cares for about 100, including newborns. To donate, see www.nyumbani.org.

PAUL FERRARA spearheaded the establishment of the nation's first DNA data bank in 1989 as director of the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. Today his crime lab holds DNA profiles of nearly 250,000 criminals, including convicted sex offenders. Ferrara, 63, retired in 2006, but will continue teaching and consulting in forensic science.

WILLIE PEP, twice World Featherweight champion, died November 23, 2006 in Connecticut at age 84. He had Alzheimer's disease. Born Guglielmo Papaleo in Connecticut, he won 230 fights, 65 by KOs and lost only 11 bouts in his 26-year career. "He was probably the greatest pure boxer that ever lived," according to boxing historian Hank Kaplan.

EDWARD RE, judge, writer and teacher, died last September in Brooklyn, NY at age 85. He arrived in the U.S. from Sicily with his family at age 7, graduated from St. John's University law school with honors and served during World War II where he rose to the rank of colonel. After the war, he served three presidents, was made a federal judge, and, as a law professor, taught Mario Cuomo, among others. A prolific writer, he authored numerous books and fathered 12 children. "I've been Americanized," he once said. "But I helped Italianize America."

FRANK SCIAME, the noted New York builder, has been selected by Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to work on the projected $500 million World Trade Center memorial, scheduled to open September 11, 2009.

Sciame has restored such historic landmarks as the Central Synagogue on Lexington Avenue; the New Victory Theater, the city's oldest theater, and Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The F. J. Sciame Construction Company he established in 1975 is one of the area's leading construction management firms.

ADRIANNA SGARLATTA, crowned Miss Virginia 2006, is an accomplished soprano, studying music at George Mason University in Virginia and a champion of laws to protect children against bullying. As executive director of the state chapter of Bully Police, Adrianna was instrumental in getting two anti-bullying laws passed in Virginia in 2005. Of Sicilian heritage, she will compete in the 2007 Miss America Pageant and plans a career in opera. Bravissima!