This is a site dedicated to memorial the life and works of a wonderful woman with a wonderful heart and wonderful life to offer others who died too early.
On February 9, 2003, my sister Paulette Jean Messina Scafetta died. What follows is the email I sent out that date to family and friends:
From: James Messina
Sent: Sunday, February 09, 2003 9:08 AM
Subject: My Sister's Heavenly Homecoming
My sister Paulette Messina Scafetta went home to be with her Heavenly Father when she died this morning in the ICU in Buffalo NY. She was 61 and diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer as well as being a brittle diabetic amputee.
I fortunately had a God given opportunity to spend ten full days with her January 7-17th at Mercy Hospital in Buffalo. I was there before her surgery which was on Friday January 10th. On the 10th Paulette made peace with each of us at her bedside, her husband Richard, daughter Mary Kate (who had just gotten engaged on New Years Day), daughter Sarah Anne (who was not there but on bed rest, she is pregnant and expecting in July), our younger sister Lucille (who has been a wonderful informant for all of us who are out of town about how Paulette has been doing) and myself. She survived the surgery, but her compromised health never allowed her to gain full recovery.
She remained in the ICU till her death. Paulette and I said our good bys in the ICU on Thursday January 17th knowing it was our last time face to face on this earth to see one another. We came to closure knowing that we loved each other unconditionally and that we shared a life-long bond which started at my birth and was the emotional tether which kept us in spirit with one another. Although we were not physically close, our emotional and psychic closeness was pronounced and we were able to feel each other's pain even if we were not present to see it. We could fight like "cats and dogs" but our bond of love was strong as witnessed by the beauty of our last ten days together.
I thank God that He gave Paulette a strong heart which got her through this crisis. She was in the hospital since before New Years. I knew she was critically ill since our visit to Buffalo on December 15 when she was not able to come to a family party that day in Batavia. Our family, Connie, Steve, Melissa and Ian have been in constant emotional distress from that day on, our concerns were for Paulette and her family that God's will be done in her life.
A scholarship fund is being set up in Paulette's memory at the Hamburg School District, more details will follow.
I ask you all to pray and spiritually lift up Paulette's immediate family that they will have the ability to cope with this great loss and be able to proceed to make their lives full and productive as living memorials to their wife's and mother's memory.
Thanks so much for being there for us at this time.
Here is the Obituary which appeared in the Batavia News concerning Paulette.
Paulette Jean Messina Scafetta
September 25, 1941 – February 9, 2003, surrounded by family and friends at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo after a brief illness. Paulette had just recently retired as the attendance secretary for the Hamburg Middle School, Hamburg, NY, where she was employed for the past fifteen years. She was also an active member of the Support Staff Association for the Hamburg School District organizing many professional staff development days. Paulette was a member of the PTA for many years organizing many successful events for the students in the Hamburg District.
Paulette was active in many organizations throughout her life such as the Buffalo Diocesan Catholic Young Adult Club, in which she became president in 1965. During her tenure she ran many conventions and traveled to Ecuador, South America, for two months. She attended Bryant and Stratton and received her degree in business. Shortly after that she worked for the United States Air Force and for United States Department of Social Security. She was an avid crafter and enjoyed displaying her works of art at craft shows. Paulette was the loving daughter of the late Paul S. Messina, and Gilda Messina of Tampa, FL. Paulette was also a devoted wife and mother. Her husband, Richard Scafetta, and their two loving daughters survive her, Sarah Anne Farr with her husband, Scott Farr and Mary Kathryn with her fiancé Steven DeMarzio. Two siblings and their spouses, Drs. James and Constance Messina of Tampa, FL, and Lucille and Gary DiSanto, of Batavia, NY, also survive Paulette. Also surviving are her nieces and a nephew, Melissa Fry and her husband Ian Fry, Steven Messina, Andrea LaFornara, and Lisa LaFornara.
Friends and family attended her wake on Tuesday February 11th and Wednesday February 12th, at Demmerly Funeral Home, 21 Pierce Avenue, Hamburg, NY 14075. A Mass of Christian Burial was held at St.’s Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Hamburg, NY on Thursday February 13, 2003. Burial was the same day at the Elmwood Cemetery in Batavia, NY. In lieu of flowers, donations were made to the Paulette Messina Scafetta Memorial Scholarship Fund.
EULOGY By Jim Messina, Paulette's Brother
On October 12, 1968, Paulette married the love of her life Richard. Which was the start of almost 35 full years of love, hope, success, and challenges. The riches of their lives were their two daughters Sarah Ann and Mary Kate. Their high points were the graduation of their two girls from High School, College and this year from Graduate School. Their sorrows were the loss of Richard’s father and mother and Paulette’s father. Added to this was the loss of so many of their relatives and friends. The added burden was Paulette’s brittle diabetes, amputation and at the end her cancer and system breakdown. Paulette had a strong heart and she fought a valiant fight to the end. She loved Richard so much that her last goal in life was achieved with her “Richie” at her bedside at her death. Richard as you go on from this day, I want you to remember these words from Proverbs 31 about Paulette. You can be so proud of your wife for her contribution to your life together, to your family and home life, and your wonderful two daughters.
Proverbs 31 reads:
When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls
Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize
She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms.
She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is undimmed.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel.
Her children rise up and praises her; her husband, too, extol her:
“Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all.”
Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.
(From The New American Bible, St. Joseph Edition)
Paulette Messina Scafetta, was Richard’s wife, was Sarah Ann and Mary Kate’s mother, was Lucille’s and my sister, was aunt to many and was a woman of great worth to a myriad array of relatives, friends, community, and work colleagues.
Paulette was born on September 25, 1941 to Gilda and Paul Messina. With in only three and a half short years Paulette needed to be girted with strength and dignity with the birth of her new brother me. My mother and father looked at their young daughter as a built in protector, guidance counselor, traffic director, and surrogate parent for me. “Pawett” was housemother, cook, nurse, and maid to me until I entered High School. She was always there to tell me what I could and could not or should and should not do. We spent hours in window-shopping, movie going, and riding the bus to the various schools we attended. She was the most responsible, mature, and grown-up kid I ever met. While I worked at mom and dad’s restaurant, Paulette managed the household and kept it clean, neat and fully stocked. Eleven years after my birth, along came Lucille, who became Paulette’s new charge and responsibility. Paulette was the proverbial caregiver, everyone came before her in order of importance and need.
Paulette and I had a life-bond, which was unique and started at my birth. It was the emotional tether, which kept us in spirit with one another. Although we were not physically close, our emotional and psychic closeness was pronounced and we were able to feel each other’s pain even if we were not present to see it. We could fight like “cats and dogs” but our bond of love was strong as witnessed by the beauty of our last ten days together this January. I fortunately had a God given opportunity to spend ten full days with Paulette at Mercy Hospital. I was there before her surgery on January 10th on which day she was able to make closure with each one of us at her bedside: Richard, Mary Kate, Sarah in spirit, Lucille and myself. We prayed, shared thoughts and closed anything, which needed to be closed prior to their taking her to the surgery. She survived the surgery but due to her compromised health she remained in ICU until my last day with her January 17th. We said our good bys on that day knowing that it was our last time to be face to face on earth. We came to closure knowing that we loved each other unconditionally and that we shared a life-long gift, which I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Richard, Mary Kate, Stacy, Louise and Lucille continued the bedside vigil till her end on February 9th. We all who were privileged to spend these last hours with Paulette know that she fought a valiant fight to the end. She did not deserve the pain and suffering she experienced and we are all relieved that God finally agreed to let her be at rest in Him.
Paulette had just recently retired as the attendance secretary for the Hamburg Middle School, Hamburg, NY, where she was employed for the past fifteen years. She was also an active member of the Union for non-teaching staff for the District organizing many professional staff development days. Paulette was a member of the P.T.A. for many years organizing many successful events for the students in the Hamburg District. Paulette loved her role in the school system. She was very involved with the lives of the staff and students. Due to her role in the Hamburg School District our family has set up an annual scholarship to be given to a deserving student who has chosen the path of administrative and support service which Paulette followed her entire life.
Paulette was a leader. She was charismatic and she was my hero. I would do anything to help her be recognized for her skills, abilities, and competencies. When I was completing my first year of college, in 1965, I got a group of my fellow classmates at the Little Seminary in Buffalo to assist me in helping Paulette campaign for the presidency of the Buffalo Diocesan CYAC. Her campaign theme was “Everything’s Coming up Roses for Paulette and the CYAC.” I had my seminarian friends hand out over 3000 paper roses at the convention. We sang her theme song on tape, which we ran obnoxiously all during the convention. You can imagine that everything did come up Roses for Paulette. During her Presidential tenure she ran many conventions and traveled to Ecuador, South America, for two months.
After graduating from Notre Dame High School in Batavia, Paulette attended Bryant and Stratton and received her degree in business. Shortly after that she worked for the United States Air Force and for United States Department of Social Security. All her family members fondly remember the ease with which she would rattle off pertinent Social Security information that would assist them in their long-term planning for their retirement. She had an incredible gift for memory of the minutest details, which she could retrieve years later to the chagrin of those who would have preferred her to forget.
What was so impressive about Paulette was her loyalty to her husband, daughters, family members and friends. Some of her closest friends can give you testimony to such a close friendship.
She was an avid crafter and enjoyed displaying her works of art at craft shows.
Finally to you Sarah and Mary Kate here is a Message about your mother I hope will stay with you both for the rest of your lives and the lives of your children:
The Mother's Path of Life
The young mother set her foot on the path of life. "Is this the long way?" she asked.
And the guide said: "Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning."
But the young mother was happy, and she could not believe that anything could be better than these years. So she played with her children, and gathered flowers for them along the way, and bathed them in the clear streams; and the sun shone on them, and the young Mother cried, "Nothing will ever be lovelier than this."
Then the night came, and the storm and the path were dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, "Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come."
And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children, "A little patience and we are there." So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, "Mother, we would not have done it without you."
And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars and said, "This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today, I have given them strength."
And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said: "Look up. Lift your eyes to the light." And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the Mother said, "This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God."
And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage. And when the way was rough, they lifted her, for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And mother said: "I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know
The end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them."
And the children said, "You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates." And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: "We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory. She is a living presence."
Your Mother is always with you. She's the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street, she's the smell of bleach in your freshly laundered socks she's the cool hand on your brow when you're not well.
Your Mother lives inside your laughter. And she's crystallized in every teardrop. She's the place you came from, your first home; and she's the map you follow with every step you take. She's your first love and your first heartbreak, and nothing on earth can separate you.. Not time, not space...not even death!
Richard's Thank You Paulette!
Words of Gratitude from Paulette's Husband Richard Scafetta at her funeral on February 13, 2003
I shall try to be strong over the next few minutes. I have spent my tears over Paulette’s pain, and now I am at peace that she is at peace.
I feel I have been married to a truly saintly person, a person who cared for others and loved giving to others. I shall treasure the 34 years we were married, for they were blessed, happy years. I shall use them to build on the future, and strive to exemplify what Paulette taught me. I feel truly honored to have been part of her life.
Thank you Paulette for your families, the Ruffalo and Messina’s – truly wonderful families who gave you the foundation of your kindly giving nature.
Thank you Paulette for your many friends. Friends who were there for you in good times and bad times, who lifted those wheelchairs and put them in their cars with all the love one could give. Truly to know Paulette was to love her.
Thank you Paulette for helping to raise two wonderful daughters, Sarah Anne and Mary Kathryn. They loved you so much, and you exemplified what a mother should be. We’re so proud of them, and I know you will be watching over them closely.
Lastly, I want to share something with you that just happened at the house. The furnace at our house went out last night. It hasn’t gone out in over 20 years. We woke up to a home that was 50 degrees. I always felt that Paulette was the warmth and sunshine of our home. When she left this earth, the heart of our home left with her. Now I have to make our home warm again with my spirit through Paulette’s loving inspiration.
Lastly, thank you Paulette, just for being you!
Lucille DiSanto's Sisterly Memory
My sister, Paulette, was everything to me. She was my sister, my friend, and my mother. The person I could always go to in times of need and in times of joy. I loved her with an unconditional certainty that she would always love me no matter what I did, or how deep the trouble I was in. She has pulled me up out of the murk and mire of life’s challenges and has celebrated my every achievement, even my kindergarten graduation which I had to celebrate at home because of a severe illness. When I was little, Paulette always included me in everything she did. Her CYAC activities, yes even the luau at Nu Lake! Every Saturday we were together helping mom around the house and shopping for her. Paulette would allow me to go with her and Jeannie to get hot fudge sundaes after a long, hot day. I felt so privileged. Paulette never once complained about dragging me along. I was always so amazed at that. She would let me watch her get ready for a BIG date or special occasion. She had such style and such class, I was in awe of her. She was like a princess to me. Paulette was my role model, my mentor, my hero. I even had the privilege of being a junior bridesmaid in my sister’s wedding. I was an awkward, ugly thirteen years old who gave her a tough time every step of the way. She would not have it any other way but to have me in her wedding. Now THAT was unconditional love.I challenge anyone to mention something, anything, and I can relate it to Paulette. She has been in every fiber of my life, of my being, and of my children’s lives. Without her, I would not be the person I am today. I am here today and doing my best because Paulette was there guiding my every step. Now she leaves me with big shoes to fill to do that for her daughters. I just hope I can do half the job my sister has done. We all have been so lucky, so blessed to have had Paulette in our lives. Thank you Lord.
Tales from Jean Wratny
If it wasn't for Paulette and her Mom and Dad, I wouldn't have the great husband I have today. My husband Bill was working with Paulette's Dad to get me to go out with him (I found out years later) and her Mom was always after me to go out with him too. It was fitting for Paulette's Dad to do our reception for us. Paulette was my maid of honor. And she was a good match maker at that as well!
I remember the morning of my wedding Paulette came to my mother-in-laws to help me get dressed. She knew I had to have it altered and ask if it fit. I said I hadn't tried it on yet. the look I got was not nice then we both laughed and put it on me. It fit fine.
I was remembering when Paulette was in Batavia for her summer visit. We went to BINGO she loved it and I always said each year I'm not going again. I would get so upset when I had one number and some one else won. Paulette always got a good laugh from this, and I went back to BINGO each year with her. How could I miss the opportunity to see and hear her great laugh!