Rachael Florio DePietro
Rachael Florio DePietro loved to laugh. Ask her brother, mother or aunt what they remember best about her and they all end up talking about the laughter of a woman who managed to keep smiling, even though she was looking for a job and had recently been divorced
"She was just funny and loving and full of life," Christine Florio said of her 31-year-old daughter.
They used to take walks in the woods and DePietro would always have some sort of prank to spring: she might point out animals that were not actually there or give her mother a scare by suddenly running off. "She was a beautiful girl. She was extremely pretty, kindhearted," Florio said.
DePietro's aunt, Betty Florio, said that kindhearted nature two years ago led DePietro to stop on the side of a Connecticut road to make sure no one ran over an animal that was had been injured.
Christine Florio is dealing with her grief from the bedside of her 26-year-old son Adam, who went to The Station with his sister. He and a friend made it out. Adam is recovering from the burns he suffered, mostly to his chest.
DePietro was the one who introduced her brother to the music of Great White. "Since the `80s we've always liked that kind of music," Adam said. When he heard that the band was coming to Rhode Island, he told her about it. DePietro bought the tickets.
The last time Adam Florio saw his sister he was standing next to her in the middle of the crowd when the pyrotechnics went off. "I said, `Look, there's a little fire starting over there.' " When people began to realize what was happening, they began to back up. DePietro began to leave and called to her brother to get out. He lost her in the crowd, and escaped through a window.
DePietro, who was born in Woonsocket, R.I., and lived in Coventry, R.I., was the mother of 7-year-old Adrian. The celebration of his birthday in January was the last big family gathering, said Betty Florio.
"She loved to be with her family," she said. "She was really excited about the party."