Whether it’s the village pool, the Little League baseball field or the vibrant downtown, there is evidence of former mayor Eugene Scarpato’s impact on Lynbrook in all parts of the village.
Scarpato died on Tuesday at 89 of heart complications, but he leaves a lasting legacy in a village that meant a great deal to him, and where he served as mayor from 1995 to 2007.
“He did so many things,” his wife, Virginia, said. “He revitalized the village. He created the baseball field. He brought in the pool. There’s a lot of great stuff that he did.”
Scarpato was born in Queens on June 30, 1931, the third son of John and Josephine Scarpato. He graduated from LaSalle Academy in New York City and then attended St. John’s University, where he majored in accounting. He joined the U.S. Marines in October 1953, and became a first lieutenant during the Korean War. Afterward he joined his family printing business, My-Jo Printing, which was affectionately named after his mother.
Eugene met Virginia, his wife of 64 years, at a family gathering. They wed on May 19, 1956, and had five children. The Scarpatos lived on Hawthorne Street for many years, and quickly got involved in the community. As mayor, Scarpato was responsible for creating the village’s 9/11 memorial and a walkway connecting the downtown shops to parking lots on Atlantic Avenue; overseeing several beautification projects; upgrading the lacrosse, soccer and Little League fields; and, at the request of Mayor Alan Beach, approving a bond to fund the Lynbrook Roller Hockey rink at no cost to taxpayers.
To honor Scarpato, Beach and the village board unanimously voted last October to rename the pool the Eugene B. Scarpato Village Pool in recognition of the man who worked toward its completion. Scarpato was instrumental in opening the pool in the summer of 2001, despite some controversy over its cost, and Beach said that even though he moved to Vermont with his wife, he had a legacy in Lynbrook. During the dedication, Beach said he was also grateful to Scarpato because he kept an open mind about the roller hockey rink, which continues to serve village residents 25 years after he approved its creation.
On Tuesday, Beach lamented the loss of a strong figure in Lynbrook. “He was an amazing mayor,” he said. “He was kind, generous and loving. He loved Lynbrook and everyone in it. He was a big supporter for programs for all the children. It was my honor to dedicate the pool to him. He was the best mayor.”
Scarpato was also involved with several Catholic Youth Organization teams, and coached track teams at Greis Park. Additionally, he served as the athletic director at Our Lady of Peace School, where he coached basketball, baseball and track. He created a youth organization at OLP where teens attended dances and other functions. As a 14-year member of the Lynbrook Recreation Commission, Scarpato organized family fun day, 5K races, round robin tennis tournaments and gymnastics. He also gave time to the Lynbrook Link/Teen Counseling program. After 28 years of dedication to his community, he served as a trustee on the village board and was a member of the Board of Zoning Appeals before becoming mayor.
Just before Scarpato left Lynbrook in 2008, the village board hosted a farewell ceremony in his honor, at which he received several citations. Then Mayor Brian Curran encouraged Scarpato to sit in the mayor’s seat one last time.
In addition to his wife, Scarpato is survived by his five children, Linda Place (Bill), Sue Austin (Ed), Eugene, Donald (Kathy), and Denise Zervoudis (Michael); and 10 grandchildren, Brian, Cecile (Joe), William, Gabrielle (Kyle), Dylan (Tatum), Matthew, Brandon, Kristina, Anthony and Nicholas.
His family requested that donations in his memory be made to Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice at cvhhh.org.
Even toward the end of his life, Virginia said, their time in Lynbrook meant a great deal to her husband. “I would say he was really very community-minded,” she said. “That’s his legacy — his community spirit.”