Jan. 3, 1912 - Jan. 2, 2011
John Joseph Scavetta of Walla Walla, passed away January 2, 2011 at the Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla at the age of 98 years. A graveside service will be held on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011, at 11 a.m. at the George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, NJ, with Father Diran Richard Bohajian officiating. Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main, Milton-Freewater, Oregon is in charge of the arrangements.
John J. Scavetta was born on Jan. 3, 1912, in Brooklyn, NY, to Vito and Catherine Scavetta. He was one of five children. The family moved to North Bergen, NJ, where John grew up. Since he was the eldest son, he worked with his father delivering ice after school. He didn't attend high school, but worked at Pep Boys as a young man, to support his family. John was always sorry he couldn't go to school but later in life, he studied and passed his GED. He always emphasized the value of an education to his children.
In June of 1943, he enlisted in the United States Army. He started in the cavalry, since he loved horses, and used to ride on occasion. Later he became part of the Italian Campaign, (1943-1945) in which the Allies took Sicily from the Axis, Italy and Nazi Germany. Because he could speak Italian, he applied for a position in the transitional government in Sicily, restoring order in an area that had been devastated by Allied bombs. It was during that time in Sicily, that he met Vita Arancio. She and her brother applied for post office positions in Trapani, Sicily. John and Vita were married in July 1945. John left the army in September of 1945. He earned the Bronze Star Medal, the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal Arrowhead, and the Good Conduct Medal.
Vita joined her husband several months later, and they began their family life living in New Jersey near John's family. They had two children and John started a construction and excavation company with his brother, James. When the business dissolved, John worked for the New York Port Authority as an inspector for the construction of the lower level of the George Washington Bridge. He had various positions involving construction but his favorite job of all was being a rural carrier for the US Postal Service in Millville, NJ. While living in South New Jersey, after Vita preceded him in death in 1969, John began to reinvent himself. He worked for an Atlantic City casino, learning how to be a Black Jack and Roulette dealer. Took up ballroom dancing, and bought 90 acres of land, which he had always wanted to develop.
He completed training for a security officer at a Police Fireman's Training Center, studied and passed tests for a commercial driving license in his late 80's, and at the age of 89 was delivering pizza's for Pizza Hut. Later John moved to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, to be near his sister, Mamie. He enjoyed the lovely Florida weather, and the companionship of his sister. His nephews, James and Bruce Scavetta lived nearby and assisted both nonagenarians when necessary. Their attendance and patience was greatly appreciated by all.
In 2006, John lost his driver's license. His granddaughter, Sonja, took upon the difficult task of moving him to Walla Walla to live with his daughter. He lived independently for awhile, with the help of his electric scooter. Each morning he would go to McDonalds for coffee and breakfast. He always checked the help wanted section of the paper. He never gave up looking for a job….. anything, to be useful once more. For awhile, he considered delivering the Union Bulletin with horse and carriage. An indomitable spirit! John resided at Pioneer House Assisted Living in Walla Walla the last year of his life. The residents there will remember him as a lively man, with lots of plans, and a wry sense of humor. John's family appreciates the care given to him at this facility. The staff was professional, attentive and caring.
John leaves behind two children, Beverly Kin, of Wenatchee, Wash.; and Guy Scavetta of Denver, Colorado; a devoted son-in-law, Michael Kin; two grandchildren, Sonja Kin and Aaron Kin; and a great-granddaughter, Shirley.