By ERIN ROLL
Angela Bledsoe spent her life helping others, her family says.
And her family wants to ensure that the Montclair woman will continue to help other people.
A scholarship is being established in memory of Bledsoe, who was shot and killed, allegedly by her boyfriend James Ray III, at their Montclair home in October.
The scholarship will support students who want to attend Florida A&M University, Angela Bledsoe’s alma mater.
Family, accompanied by several friends and supporters, made the announcement in the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office on Monday, just before James appeared for a hearing upstairs in Judge Ronald Wigler’s courtroom. Ray is facing charges of murder and unlawful possession of a handgun in Bledsoe’s death.
The Bledsoe family was represented by Angela Bledsoe’s parents, Ray and Gaynelle Bledsoe; her sister and brother-in-law, Lisa and Christopher LaBoo.
Family and friends wore buttons with Angela Bledsoe’s picture, name and birth and death dates.
LaBoo thanked everyone who had supported the family since Angela Bledsoe’s passing, and the media for their coverage of the case.
“Angela was a beautiful person, both on the inside and out,” Lisa LaBoo said.
Her sister, she said, was active in a range of activities, including the Florida A&M University’s alumni society, where she was recently appointed national parliamentarian. She was also active with the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
The couple had a daughter, Alana, who was six years old at the time of her mother’s death. She is now in the care of her mother’s family, doing well at school and is fluent in Spanish and Mandarin.
Gaynelle Bledsoe said the months following her daughter’s death have been difficult.
Ray Bledsoe said he is concerned for his granddaughter’s future, especially when she becomes old enough to learn the details about what happened to her mother.
When surrounded by family, he said, “I look around and realize, somebody’s missing. I wouldn’t want anybody, anybody, anybody to go through this. Especially if that’s your baby.”
He has moments of self-doubt, he said, wondering whether he could have done anything.
Lisa LaBoo said sometimes she forgets and finds herself saying, “Oh, let’s call Angie,” and then she remembers what happened.
The first students will receive scholarships as soon as the endowment is funded, LaBoo said. The goal is to have a $100,000 base for the endowment established by September. Once the $100,000 mark is reached, Angela Bledsoe’s name will be on the university’s “big board:” the wall of donors. She will also have her name placed on the “eternal flame” on the university’s campus.
Donors wishing to contribute to the Angela M. Bledsoe Endowed Scholarship may do so through the university’s website, or by texting AMBS to 91999.