Santo Joseph Scarzafava
Santo Joseph Scarzafava
  • July 18, 1933 - July 11, 2017
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

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Santo Joseph Scarzafava, 83, passed away on Tuesday July 11, 2017, at the NC State Veterans Home in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

Santo was born in Childs, Pennsylvania, on July 18, 1933, to Frank and Filomena (Morelli) Scarzafava. While attending Oneonta High School, Santo showed exceptional artistic talent winning the art competition at the NY State Fair. Following high school, Santo joined the Army and enjoyed diverse assignments, including being loaned to British Intelligence as a coder and serving as an extra in the movie "To Hell and Back, the Audie Murphy Story." During this time Santo, already fluent in Italian, became fluent in German. Santo's experience of serving his country remained dear to his heart throughout his life.

After his discharge, Santo enrolled at Pratt Institute, where he studied commercial art and industrial design. There he met and later married his wife. After a year in Europe, the couple returned to New York City and enjoyed careers in advertising art at McGraw Hill, United Artists, and later in their own advertising art agency.

Later, Santo relocated to San Antonio, Texas, to be closer to family. He continued working as a commercial artist and remarried. He lived in San Antonio until he joined Academy Sports stores, in Houston, Texas, as the director of their advertising and art program. He continued to work for Academy Stores until his retirement in 1998, when he returned to San Antonio.

Santo's designs on commercial products have been seen throughout the world and he was known to playfully boast that his art was even in the Smithsonian Institute - on soap dispensers! Despite his experiences and accomplishments, Santo remained an affable and humble man, hard-working, creative, and liked by all.

Following his wife's terminal illness, Santo moved to Raleigh, NC, to be near his brother. As his health declined, he became a resident of the State Veteran's Home in Fayetteville, NC, where he died July 11, 2017, one week short of his 84th birthday.

Santo was preceded in death by his mother, Filomena Scarzafava (Oneonta), his father, Francis Scarzafava (Oneonta), his sisters, Jeanette Scarzafava Miller (Oneonta) and RoseAnn Scarzafava Doster (Monroe, Georgia), and his brother, John Scarzafava (Oneonta).

He is survived by his brothers, Eugene (Gene) Scarzafava (St James City, Florida) and Gary Scarzafava (Raleigh, North Carolina), and his sister, Lorraine Scarzafava Dickinson (Binghamton, NY). He has many relatives in the Oneonta area in the Miller, Scorzafava, and Russo families.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated for Santo at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Wake Forest, NC, on Thursday July 13, 2017.

On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, at 10:00 A.M., funeral services will be held at St. James Episcopal Church, 305 Main Street, Oneonta, with Rev. David Mickiewicz officiating. Interment will follow with military honors at Oneonta Plains Cemetery.

Condolences to the family may be offered online by visiting

Arrangements are by the Lester R. Grummons Funeral Home of Oneonta, NY.