Very Large Group of 'Us'
When Vincent Litto's sister was stricken with multiple sclerosis in 1979, she was no longer able to care for her daughter. So Mr. Litto and his wife, Linda, took the daughter in and raised her as their own. She was one of four girls Mr. Litto doted on.
"Although I was not born his daughter, he treated me as nothing less," said Michele Reitano, 33, as a thousand friends and relatives at a recent memorial service mourned Mr. Litto, 52, a vice president at Cantor Fitzgerald. "I was privileged to be part of his family, his home and to have him as my father."
Michelle's sisters ‹ and that is what they consider themselves ‹ told their stories, too.
Kimberly Litto, 20, spoke of the crowd around their Staten Island dinner table. "I'd ask who was coming for Sunday dinner," she said, "and he'd answer 'You know, just us.' "
"Just us," to Mr. Litto, meant "Grandma, Grandpa, Poppy, Katie, Peter, Vincent, Michele, Joey, Lauren, Julia, Robbie, Stacey, the Tolkins, the Sorrentinos, the Roccobonos, the Laskys, the Palmisanos and Steve."
Catherine Litto Petras recalled the many ways her father taught his girls to "do the right thing," some as simple as "making sure to say hello and goodbye to everyone who came in out house, whether it be the sprinkler guy or our grandfather."
And Kristen Litto, 22, asked mourners to close their eyes and conjure a special moment with her father. "The way you felt at that moment," she said, "is the way our father made us feel every single moment of every single day of our lives."
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 18, 2001.