On July 23, 1932, Sicilian immigrants Joseph and Maria Scozzari welcomed their first child, Salvatore, at Beth Israel Hospital in Passaic, New Jersey.
At the time of Sal’s birth, Joseph and Maria were living in Garfield, at a home located at 244 Lanza Avenue that they shared with Joe’s brother Tom and his family, as well as their father, Salvatore. Tom and his wife, Florence, had a younger daughter, Mary, so the home at that time consisted of patriarch Salvatore Scozzari, his two sons, their wives and two young grandchildren. It was obviously a full house that only got busier. By the winter of 1938, Joe and Maria were up to 3 children, while Tom and Florence had 2 daughters and had also lost a son the previous year.
With the house probably bursting at the seems with 5 adults and 5 small children, Joe and Maria decided to move to Paterson sometime between 1938 and 1940. They also took Joe’s father with them and moved to the top floor of 152 23rd Avenue, which was located upstairs from Schebis Restaurant.
In his teen years, Sal met Elizabeth “Bette” Pellegrini outside a local candy shop. In 1951, they eloped and were married in Elkton, Maryland and went on to have 3 children, their oldest being my dad.
Sal began his career working as a printer in a local silk mill, but eventually turned to house painting and wallpaper hanging. He made that his career and continued his craft well into his 70s. He was an absolute perfectionist when it came to painting and hanging wallpaper, and his work reflected that. Outside of work, he was a member of the Butler Volunteer Fire Department, which he joined in 1964. In addition to that, he volunteered at the Butler Museum, worked with the elections committee as a volunteer during each election and was a member of the XYZ Club in Butler.
As the grandfather of 7 grandsons, he loved attending all of our games. Between the 7 of us, we had all the major sports covered — baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer — and he enjoyed them all. Grandpa loved sports and was an avid New York Mets fan, and always seemed to be watching some kind of a game on TV. He had a great sense of humor and he will always be remembered for his hard work and passion. He was sometimes tough, but was one of the best teachers we could have had.
Grandpa passed away on May 4, 2016, exactly 4 weeks before my daugther Elizabeth (the first girl since my Aunt Debi) was born and 5 weeks before my cousin's son was born. He had been suffering from Congestive Heart Failure and COPD, as well as a life-long bladder condition, so although his death was unbelievably hard for us, it was one that we had all been (somewhat) prepared for. He was 83.
As of today, what would have been his 85th birthday, he had 15 living descendants — 3 children, 7 grandsons and 5 great grandchildren.