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Slain Parsippany Couple Mourned by Family and Friends

Chester and Rosaria Andraka are remembered by their children as people who were "strong, physically and mentally."

A packed sanctuary was on hand for the traditional Roman Catholic funeral mass for Chester and Rosaria Andraka at St. Christopher Church on Littleton Road Monday morning. The ceremony did not allude to the violence of what the Morris County Prosecutor's office ruled as the murder of Rosaria Andrala and the suicide of Chester Andraka. Instead, the focus was on comforting openly weeping family members and impressing upon the congregants the importance of faith.

The family entered the worship space and walked up the church aisle behind two mahogany-colored caskets draped ceremonially in white linen, per Catholic tradition.

Liturgical readings including the 23rd Psalm ("The Lord is my shepherd...") emphasized comfort and tenacity. In his gospel reading and homily, the Rev. Joseph Buffardo, St. Christopher's pastor, exhorted the assembled, telling them that "life is changed, not over" and "death is the door to Jesus' place," where peace, joy, care, compassion, life, love and glory are found.

"This is a time for faith," the priest stated,  referring to John 14, and quoting Jesus. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my father’s house are many rooms... I am going there to prepare a place for you."

"We feel troubled because of the loss and the emptiness we feel," Buffardo said in the homily, "troubled over what Chester and Rosaria are experiencing right now, and the questions we have."

The Andrakas' children, both students at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where their parents worked, appeared bereft but strong as each took part in the funeral rite.

Daughter Anna Andraka read a verse of scripture that spoke of healing and moving forward "moment to moment and day to day."

"Let us comfort each other," she said, choking up with tears briefly. "And by God, give us strength."

Son Chris Andraka offered a eulogy in which he recalled the strength of his parents. 

"My dad was very loud," the college freshman said. "He projected his voice. He was very strong. He worked very hard... and he taught me a lot. And if someone needed help, he was there."

Andraka described his father as the sort of man who loved to see people happy and would work very hard to bring them joy and keep them safe.

"He was kind of like a big kid, a 40-year-old kid. He even played Xbox, which is not all that common for someone of his age," Chris Andraka said with a small chuckle. "He was just an amazing person. He taught me everything I know."

The young man lost his composure for a moment and his sister Anna joined him at the lectern to provide moral support as he continued, recalling his mother through his tears. 

"She was strong, also, physically and mentally," he said. "She taught me how to care, how to be strong and she never wanted me to cry. She sacrificed her whole life for us."

Chris Andraka painted a picture of his mother, who the family called "Enza," as a fierce protector of her children.

"I'd always get mad at her for getting mad at people for me," he said with a quick rueful smile. "If someone did something mean to me, like told me to shut up, my mom would just take it to the next level and really lash out at them."

He concluded by thanking both of his parents, for him and his sister.

"If they hadn't taught us for life, I wouldn' be able to stand up here today," he said.

After the mass, a motorcade of officers including members of Parsippany Police and Essex County Sheriff's Office led two hearses and a convoy of vehicles to Gate of Heaven Mausoleum Chapel in East Hanover, where the couple were laid to rest.

Officials say Parsippany Police officers were present for traffic control purposes and that Rosaria Andraka's brother works for the Essex County Sheriff's Office; its representatives were on hand to aid and comfort their colleague's family.

John M February 04, 2013 at 07:36 PM
May she rest in peace. May he never find peace. I've argued with my wife many times over the years. I could never ever think of shooting her and leaving her family all the grief that Rosaria's family is feeling now. It was a coward's act and very selfish. I can't believe he loved her so much and still would do something so heartless. Didn't he care about his children? Some people amaze me.
Cj February 04, 2013 at 07:44 PM
There is a fund set up at gofundme.com. Its under Anna Andraka
Kevin B February 04, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Rosaria's brother works in the essex sheriffs deppartment. That is why they were there. The funeral was in parsippany. Thats why Parsippany Police were there. Did u see any Caldwell Police or Caldwell Police cars there? No you didnt. Get your facts right before you bloviate.
frank February 04, 2013 at 08:30 PM
Well said kevin! Gotta love the people sitting behind their screen name and keyboard that are fools and clueless! God bless her and her children
Natalie Davis (Editor) February 04, 2013 at 08:59 PM
I do not know. The question has been asked, but like most in this situation, it has not been answered or acknowledged.
Nancy February 04, 2013 at 09:29 PM
I wouldn't want to be buried with the person who murdered me.
Mrs. K February 04, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Thank you CJ, she and I was a few years ahead of me in high school. We Belleville girls need to take care of our own.
kellie February 04, 2013 at 11:47 PM
there is a fund for the kids at gofundme.com look up Anna Andraka and you will find "andraka family" with their pics to donate for their education and bills etc.
kellie February 04, 2013 at 11:50 PM
please be compassionate with your comments. Their children will read these blogs. He wasn't a murderer. They spent 22 years of marraige together in love. A mere moment of insanity does not erase the memories and lives they created and built together. This woman meant the world to me. She was my best friend. I knew how much he loved her. I don't know what happened but its between them and God now. Not us.
1fairguy February 04, 2013 at 11:57 PM
Obviously you WERE NOT there were you? There WAS NOT one car from Caldwell! You "offer" condolences, yet bad mouth the family who clearly knew who was in the procession. As for the PTHPD, they WERE NOT part of the procession! Get your facts straight before you post!!
1fairguy February 04, 2013 at 11:59 PM
Obviously you WERE NOT there were you? There WAS NOT one car from Caldwell! The PTHPD WAS NOT part of the procession!
1fairguy February 05, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Obviously "Helen" you have NO IDEA what a "honor guard" is! There was NO honor guard present, I WAS there! Get the facts, or DON'T comment!
1fairguy February 05, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Agreed Frank, there wasn't 1 vehicle there from Caldwell.
1fairguy February 05, 2013 at 12:07 AM
Kellie, I'd like to think that FDU would do the right thing and waive their remaining tuition,
Sammy February 05, 2013 at 01:00 AM
You need to have some respect for the kids and watch what you say, Know matter what happen they where still there Parents, And for your information they where there for his wife who brother works for the Essex County Sheriffs Department. Have some respect Helen Grace. And keep thoise kind of comments to yourself
helen grace February 05, 2013 at 01:10 AM
I absolutely support he wife and the kids-- I have watched too many women die at the hands of partners-- I apologize if I jumped to conclusions- this wife deserves all the respect in the world-- my heart breaks for the kids- her life was cut short way too early-
helen grace February 05, 2013 at 01:12 AM
that is what struck me odd too- but I suppose that is the choice of the family- I absolutely meant no disrespect- thousands and thousands are women are killed in acts of domestic violence- and that is what this is-- I dont care if it is once in an explosive event- or gradual over years. I pray for the kids and her family- may she rest in peace
helen grace February 05, 2013 at 01:18 AM
I am with you John M-- it was a senseless slaughter-- if he did not want to live- fine. why leave his children with no mother- these people jumped all over me for making a comment about the police cars - I did not know she was an officers sister- the article made it sound like it was for him-- i have stood at the grave of too many women murdered by partners- it is always tragic
helen grace February 05, 2013 at 01:19 AM
does anyone have a link-- I would like to share this with some domestic violence groups for the donations page
MC February 05, 2013 at 02:08 AM
Until todays comments he was made out to be a hero. The way the former chief of caldwell PD spoke i'm shocked they did not participate.
yomoe February 05, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Natalie, The pictures of the patrol cars you have captioned with officers were their to mourn a fallen colleague. Those are Essex County Sheriff Office patrol vehicles. Rosaria has a brother who is a officer with that department. Not sure why you wanted to make it seem like they may have been there in support of him. Also, next time you cover a funeral for your Patch, maybe stay outside on the street instead of inside taking pictures. I've never in my life seen such disrespect and you should be ashamed of yourself.
Lauren February 05, 2013 at 12:34 PM
God bless the family
kim dennison February 05, 2013 at 03:26 PM
There is a site to provide secure donations to the children, Anna and Chris Andraka. Just an FYI: http://www.gofundme.com/1z0weo If this is not permitted, I apologize.
A Mom February 05, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Kellie said it all in her comment. So true. If a person has nothing kind to say then say nothing at all. D
Dory Degen February 06, 2013 at 06:28 PM
i completely agree. i am so angry at him for killing her. rest in peace rose. and god help the families.
Dory Degen February 06, 2013 at 06:32 PM
are you kidding me? h ekilled her. it happens way too often. she wasn't his property to take down with him. it is insulting and insensitive to rationalize this as saying, welll they were married and he loved her so in a way its understandable. it is not okay that he murdered his wife! somehow the fact that he took his own life makes this more sympathetic? had he lived wouldn't you be the least bit angry at him? domestic violence is what this was. it is heartbreaking. god bless these poor families. and the rest of us who knew them and have to grapple with this horrific crime and tragedy.
lola February 07, 2013 at 05:30 AM
I think there's a trend toward not letting family and friends get up there and go on about how great the deceased was...around 9/11 this happened, because people didn't know how to be part of a Catholic funeral Mass. God protect these kids. What happened with their father?!
Reality Chuck February 09, 2013 at 01:40 PM
From a news perspective, I have not yet seen an article that identifies this guy as a murderer. "Slain couple" gives the impression that they were victims. She was the only victim who lost her life. Mourn a fallen collegue? So murdering his spouse was the blotch on the officer's record? Absurd. The world has a hard time telling the difference between right and wrong.
John Meyer March 01, 2013 at 05:52 PM
Personally, I'm tired of talking about this SELFISH guy. Who would want to have this murderer buried anywhere near. Sure, they obviously were having an issue that made him feel that if I can't have her, no one will. He was a victim of his obvious, lifelong insecurity that started by probably wanting to become a cop and be empowered.Killing a helpless unarmed woman is pathetic and hopefully he will burn. To kill the mother of your kids and leave them to fend for themselves, My prayers go out to the surviving kids, thank god they weren't home or part of his cowardly killing.
Ariana March 03, 2013 at 12:26 AM
How could you not call him a murderer? Official report says "Murder/Suicide" Autopsy conclusive - "Wife shot several times in the face and chest" As a former detective, whenever a victim is shot in the face several times "it's a hate crime" The reports are official on the Internet by Parsippany police. "There was trouble in their marriage" the report officially stated. He had it planned. Not a moment of insanity. Planned!! She asked him for a divorce early in December. HE wanted to portray them as the perfect couple, so much in love. That is the classic sign of a controlling abusive man. His FB page had 50 + photos of him hugging his wife and kissing her. Those photos had been removed from his FB page after the funeral. A few photos of the kids and 1 or 2 of him. Is that normal 50+ photos of just hugging & kissing your wife? I say not! Families facing these type of crimes would not bury the husband & wife together. You call that normal? Or being in denial? I'm tired of everyone praising how much he loved her, 22 yrs of marriage and is not a murderer? Abuse is OK. Selfish is Ok? A moment of insanity is Ok too!I Loving her so much is Ok to kill her!! Pray they find peace through the grace of God!! God help the kids and their families who have to live with it. Hope they do not live in denial because that is the ultimate betrayal to the victim.

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