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Queens Mother Allegedly Slain By Handyman Memorialized By Friends And Family

“She had a passion for making her kids happy,” said Orsolya Gaal’s son, Jamie, during a memorial service for his 51-year-old mother on Monday.

By Dorian Geiger
A personal photo of Orsolya Gaal

Queens mother Orsolya Gaal, who was found slain inside a duffel bag at a park near her home last month, was remembered as a “beautiful person” by loved ones at a memorial this week.

Gaal’s husband, Howard Klein, described his late spouse, a Hungarian native, as a devoted mom and a globetrotter at a memorial attended by family and friends in Forest Hills on Monday.

“‘Orsolya, what a beautiful name’ was the response of many when first introduced to her, though few could ever pronounce her name correctly,” Klein said during the service, according to the New York Post.

On April 16, Gaal was allegedly stabbed more than 50 times by her estranged lover and handyman, David Bonola, after an argument between the pair erupted in the basement of her Queens home shortly after midnight. According to prosecutors, Bonola stuffed the woman’s corpse into a hockey equipment bag he found at the home, which he dumped in Forest Hills Park. 

Bonola, who was arraigned last week, has pleaded not guilty to the killing. He’s facing a 13-count indictment including charges of second-degree murder, tampering with physical evidence and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. The 44-year-old allegedly confessed to investigators to carrying out the deadly stabbing after his arrest.

At the time of his wife’s murder, Klein was out of town, scouting colleges for his oldest teenage son, WPIX previously reported.

A personal photo of Orsolya Gaal

At Monday's memorial, Klein recounted how he met Gaal at a Christmas party in Budapest in 1994, per the New York Post. The couple later traveled through Thailand together and ultimately moved in together in Manhattan after Gaal was hired for a job in New York. 

“I told Orsolya she could stay for awhile, but I expected once settled in a new job, she would have to move out in six months or so to make friends of her own,” Klein said. “I had an important career in front of me, I said, I wasn’t ready to be tied down. Six months later, I put out a big matzo ball: I told her I loved her and that I didn’t want her to move out.”

Klein and Gaal later bought a home in Forest Hills. In the weeks since her death, several bouquets of flowers have piled up on the sidewalk in front of the couple’s family home.

“What the past four weeks has demonstrated to me is my destination today and the foreseeable future remain in Forest Hills,” Klein also told those in attendance. “The outpouring of love, kindness and support for our family in the wake of this tragic shock means a great deal.”

Gaal’s two teenage sons, Jamie and Leo, also attended Monday’s memorial for their mother.

“When I think about my mom, I think about all the work she put into raising us,” Jamie said. “Everyone who knew her tells me how much she loved me and Leo and it reflected in her actions.”

The elder son added that Gaal “found happiness in our happiness.” 

“She had a passion for making her kids happy,” Jamie recalled. “Right now that’s what’s important to remember.”

The teen particularly recalled the lengths his late mom went to to throw birthday celebrations for her two boys, in which there was never a shortage of snacks.

“We’d barely be done eating the previous bag of Goldfish by the time she brought two new ones,” he added. “It was kind of an inside joke between me and my friends that she was so nice and accommodating and it showed what kind of person she was.”

Bonola’s next court date is set for July 7, according to the Queens District Attorney’s Office. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Bonola’s defense lawyer, David Strachan Jr., declined to comment on the case when contacted by Oxygen.com last week.

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