Long Island activist and newspaper publisher, Vic Scutari died at home in Wendell on Jan. 12, 2013, due to complications from Parkinson's disease. He was born on Nov. 18, 1932 to Rose and Victor Scutari.
During his life he had various occupations. He was a youth counselor at the Kennedy Home for Troubled Youth in NY, a stock broker, an assistant budget supervisor for the Town of Hempstead, NY, and was the owner and publisher of the Long Beach Independent Voice in the early 1970s. During the time that he was employed by the Township of Hempstead in NY, he stood out by his refusal to kick back 1 percent of his salary to the Republican Party, which was an accepted form of "dues" at that time. He was ostracized by his co-workers due to his stance. He ultimately called a press conference to expose this illegal practice and resigned from his high paying job on principle.
His interest in politics and belief in social justice led him to co-found the Long Beach Food and Friendship INN, a soup kitchen on Long Island, that fed between 85-100 needy men, women and children each day. Together with his wife, Patti Scutari, they directed the soup kitchen through many challenges such as a lack of resources and repeated threats of eviction for 10 years. He was a true advocate for Long Beach's poor and homeless population.
The couple expanded their activism to include protesting on local, national and global levels, primarily focusing on U.S. policies in Central America which affected so many of the undocumented workers on Long Island.
In 1988, they traveled to El Salvador on a fact-finding delegation sponsored by Pastors For Peace. He along with several other activists went to Panama in 1989 to investigate rumors of mass graves that were reported after the U.S. Invasion of Panama.
Scutari found himself arrested several times for acts of civil disobedience, as well as organizing and participating in "sleep outs" in sub-freezing temperatures to bring attention to the plight of the homeless. Scutari was proud to be arrested as part of the "Hempstead Six (a sit in at Congressman Ray McGrath's office in NY)" and to be a member of The LI Sanctuary Coalition, LI Catholic Peace Fellowship, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, The Convoy of Conscience, Peacesmith House and ARISE.
To call attention to a different perspective on our nation's celebration of the 500th anniversary of Columbus' discovery of the Americas in 1992, he joined "The Peoples Fast for Justice and Peace in the Americas." There he fasted for 28 days (water only), in solidarity with all indigenous people, on the steps of our nation's Capitol.
In that same year, the Scutari family participated in an ongoing vigil that lasted for 1½ years in Colrain, MA, in support of Randy Keehler and Betsy Corner, whose home was seized by the IRS for War Tax Resistance.
Soon after, in 1993, the Scutari's moved their family, from Long Beach, NY to Wendell, where they purchased the Wendell Country Store. Once there, they became an integral part of that close knit community and continued to support and participate in activism for peace and justice. In 2005 they built Deja Brew Pub, which continues to be a center for fellowship and community event planning.
Scutari will be dearly missed by his loving wife of 28 years, Patti Scutari, nee Kort; his daughters: Susan Donnelly, Charmaine Murray, Lisa Fay (deceased), Charlsie Baleno Gorski; his sons: Vic Scutari Jr., Kevin Baleno, Brian Baleno, his 16 grandchildren, friends and community.
A celebration of Vic's life will be held at the Wendell Town Hall on Sunday (1-20-13) from 1 to 3 p.m.
Memorial donations may be made in lieu of flowers to any of the following: Friends of Wendell, 6 Lockes Village Road; Friends of the Wendell Free Library, P.O. Box 133; Wendell Good Neighbors, P.O. Box 222, Wendell, MA 01379 or The Montague Reporter, 58 Fourth St., Turners Falls, MA 01376.