Helping You Become All You are Capable of Becoming
Who was Paulette Messina Scafetta?
Shared memories from family and friends at the time of her untimely death
Paulette was “neighbor” to Barbara Gaultieri and was a pillar of strength to Barbara at the time of the death of her husband Michael 21 years ago. Paulette always stood by Barbara and never let her ever not know that she was there for her.
Paulette was the rock and anchor to Jean Wratny. Jean maintained almost daily contact with her by phone to the end.
Paulette was a support and solace to Bernadette Foote when Bernie lost her husband several years ago. Paulette had a heart, which was so huge that she could fully enwrap the emotional needs of all of her beloved friends.
Aunt Rose remembers that Paulette was loved and adored at the Social Security Offices in Batavia. Aunt Rose worked for Sylvania in the same building that Paulette worked in. She says that when Paulette announced that she was transferring to another Social Security Office the staff in Batavia were broken hearted and pleaded for her to stay with them since she was such a loved member in the office.
Paulette had an infectious laugh that spread fun and cheerfulness throughout whatever room or place she was in.
Paulette was so loyal and trustworthy to her family and friends. You could always count on her to help you out if you were in need.
Paulette was a great listener and problem solver who could get to the heart of your problem and identify options for alternative solutions which you never could have thought of without her
Paulette was not a complainer and never let you know if she was in dire pain or need and one always had to guess what was really going on with her when she was sick or hurting
Paulette was extremely ticklish and she would jump and scream when she was tickled. This became so well known that when she was President of the Diocesan CYAC her Vice President Matty Beriel would tickle her just before she would make a speech and Paulette would give a whoop. Matty called her “skooch” because of this unique characteristic behavior.
Paulette in the last few years worked the Erie County Fair at the gate as a ticket taker. She had retired at the end of the 2000-2001 school year. At the fair that summer her Middle School Principal Mr. Jeffrey Grace came up to her gate and asked if she would come out of retirement and work in the fall for just two weeks, because they could not find a replacement for her. She did go back to work at the school but not for two weeks but rather two weeks short of one year. This past summer, Paulette was back at the fair collecting tickets and low and behold she saw Mr. Grace walking towards her gate. Suddenly everyone in line heard “ Get the Hell out of Here Grace!” There was Paulette peering around the line at the Gate smiling at Mr. Grace saying no way am I going back this year. True to form however, she did open the school this past fall and continued to sub at the school until this December 2002. She was loved and adored at the school and their outpouring of love for her during her hospitalization and death has been overwhelming and dearly welcomed by her family.
As a new person to the Messina family, Connie’s first impression of Paulette was that of a person who was warm, caring, with a great sense of humor and very accepting of her new in-law even if Connie came into our lives with some unusual baggage of her own.
Paulette lost her leg to diabetes in October 1994 and had a number of prosthetic legs. She did not like wearing the leg unfortunately and this would give rise to many unusual stories and vignettes which would tickle the people involved
At EPCOT in April 2001, Mary Kate and Jim took Paulette to The Land Pavilion and when they got Paulette on the boat for the ride, she took off her leg once she was seated and then put the leg on the seat next to her. The woman who was the guide on the boat was so amazed and overwhelmed by the leg that she could not get herself under control enough to proceed and they needed to get a replacement guide so that the boat could take off for the tour. What a howl all the people on the boat had as that poor guide’s expense.
Paulette was at a party at Lucille’s house and left her leg at the entrance to the house, when a guest arrived at the house for the party the guest initially screamed “Oh My God!” and then exclaimed “What a warm welcome to greet us at your house!” Lucille said to guests “That is a little piece of my sister greeting all my guests at the door.”
At her school office, the kids in the school were freaked out by her leg, which would be standing by her desk. Eventually, after the kids got used to her freestanding appendage they would look into the office for the leg first to see if Mrs. Scafetta was in.
Dr Peter Roswell, the Superintendent of Hamburg Central School District remembers well how just after arriving in the District he was attending a special event for a staff person in the school district. Paulette as usual had her leg off and it fell down and hit him. He was shocked! This event started for Paulette and he a lasting friendship with great humor on how she had freaked him so by a part of her falling on him.
Paulette always had candy and toys for the kids in her school. She was known to be a mentor to many of the kids and an encourager of them to take their academic experience seriously to become successful in life.
In summer 2001, Lucille had Paulette at her summer school class in Batavia and Paulette read to the class a book that focused on diversity. The kids were spellbound as she read the story and they engaged her in discussion about diversity and handling the differences in people. The students hung on to her perspective and they clung to her every word not wanting to let her go from this special time with them.
Paulette got into crafting about fifteen years ago with the Home Bureau in Hamburg. She would work diligently to learn all of the crafts from sewing, crocheting, painting, decoupage, puff shirts, wreathes, gift baskets, gourmet vinegars and cappuccinos. At the end her, painting was her major enterprise and what she was most proud of. Her snowmen, lighthouses, teddy bears and teacher related items were her joy and entertainment. She displayed her crafts at shows every fall in Craft shows at the Hamburg High School and Batavia High School.
Paulette loved New England so much so that when she was newly out of school she went with Richard and Mike McMahon on a two-week trip throughout the New England states. On her return from home, Mom called her a “floozy” for going on such a long trip with two guys. We howled at this story when Mike got to Hamburg for the wake and funeral. It was too incredible that Mom would call “Saintly” Paulette such a name.
Paulette and Dick were engaged on Valentines Day, 1968 in St. Anthony’s Church. Aunt Rita termed this expression of love as just one indication of how their love was, that which could be captured only in a Romantic Novel. Because Richard was the “non-committing – hard to get type- and it took him over five years to propose, at the time of his asking when she would like to get married, she responded by asking: “What year do you have in mind?” Turns out Richard said: “This year!” and they did on October 12, 1968.
Sarah provided Paulette weekly field trips, which were the “light of her life.” On the weekends they would venture into museums, plays, movies, stores, malls, craft shows etc. A highlight was the day they tracked each and every decorated City of Buffalo sponsored Buffalos. In her coffin was a replica of a Buffalo to memorialize this momentous occasion.
Comments of family and friends in the many cards given Richard and the girls at the time of Paulette’s wake and funeral
Thanks for sharing your special lady with us in the junior high/middle school for so many years. Her smile, personality and talents made working there a much more pleasant experience. I even had the privilege of being her across-the-hall neighbor for a while. Her willingness and enthusiasm for getting involved and forging ahead tell me that she’s doing very well in her current venture. If the clouds in the sky look different in the near future, you can bet that Paulette’s had a hand in reorganizing and improving things. The fact that you, her family, mean and meant everything to her was always evident – especially on her retirement night. I am truly grieving with you in your loss while at the same time I am celebrating the life well lived of a great lady. (Jim Castiglioni)
Paulette was one of the special people God puts on this earth. We were all just lucky enough to have known and loved her. (Carol and Bob Alfieri)
Paulette was such a lovely person and will be in my heart and memories forever. (Carolyn Anderson)
Your sadness is shared with so many other people who have grown to love and appreciate Paulette. I always felt my life was enriched every time I was with Paulette. (John McDonnell)
I will cherish forever the talk I had with Paulette the day my father died – She always has been such a special person to the whole family. She will be missed, especially her humor and her way of seeing things and dealing with everything. We never got the chance to see each other often but she had a way of picking up the conversation as if you saw her yesterday. I always admired her spirit. (Donna Gilbreath)
I will always remember Paulette’s sense of humor, her courage, her loving and supportive ways. I often teased her – saying I would get a sign for her door – “the shrink is in” – for the countless times kids and adults alike came to her for support, encouragement, or just to shoot the breeze. I always knew that when I went to her for advice, she would give me the straight stuff. I was touched by the kind words Paulette spoke at my retirement. It struck me that even though she had been through so much with her health problems, she always thought of others first. Her “speed” is among my most treasured mementos. Finally, know that Paulette loved her family intensely, and thanked God every day for you! (Helen Heather)
Paulette was a “special” person and we will always remember her wonderful outlook on life in spite of her health problems. (Sara and Jack Hamels)
We have many fond memories of Paulette that go back a long time. She’ll be missed by all – she was a special lady. (The Nyhart Family)
Paulette and I had a lot of Batavia history. She was great to work and chat with… I’ll certainly miss her humor and kindness… (Carol Stevens)
Paulette was a very special person and friend – I will miss her smile and gentle ways. We have known each other for too many years to count and she has been an inspiration to me, and those around her. I have been praying that God would give her more time with us but in the end your words are true – He needed another angel. (Catrina Rebmann)
We knew Paulette from PTA and the Attendance Office – her cheerful service will be remembered and her kindness to all she touched. (Heidi Walling)
It’s difficult to find the words to express our sorrow at Paulette’s passing. We will all carry a part of her in our hearts and memories. (Linda Scafetta)
Paulette was a great friend and worker. Upon my retirement she gave me a book entitled “Grace for the Moment” which I will always keep. (Ed Osborne)
Although it’s been a long time since I worked with Paulette at Social Security, I treasure her friendship. The dinners Dottie and I enjoyed so much in “Hamburg” meant so much to us. And a visit to her house 3 or 4 years ago – I still remember fondly. What was so wonderful about Paulette was her insight, her reflection she had on you, her kind heart and outrageous sense of humor. Whenever I spent time with her I always left feeling so uplifted, so good about myself and I just know I spent precious time with an amazing woman. I truly mean that. To have known her, even if for too short of a time was a gift to all of us. An even better blessing to have called your “wife” or your “mom.” May God give your family strength in the days ahead. May each day find you a bit more at peace. Hold tight in your heart the very many wonderful moments and treasured memories I know there are millions! (Kathy Najuch)
I was very fortunate to know Paulette since 1989 when I started to work for the school district. She was a very special person and will be missed by everyone. I cannot imagine what you and your family will miss the most in these days ahead, but I will miss her loyalty and unfailing determination. (Ann Wakelee)
If knowing that Paulette is now in a better place without pain and suffering helps to get through this bleak period, then my prayers are being answered. Paulette was truly one-of-a-kind and we will miss her greatly. (Carol Ferrantino)
We will miss her. Paulette will always be in our hearts. (Bob and Carol Leo)
Paulette was a great asset at school and did many things to help me. (Marcella Fugle)
Paulette was a wonderful person and we always enjoyed seeing her at the Batavia High School Craft Shows. We also have such fond memories of our get-togethers when you and John worked together. (John and Ann Arent)
I cannot express how very sorry I am for you in your time of loss. I am sorry for all of us because she is so missed! I miss her everyday. She was beloved by all – Paulette was so highly thought of and such a dear friend. I don’t know what I’ll do without her. I have thought about all of you in the past few weeks. I wish we could turn the clock back. We will remember Paulette and your family in our prayers. My children were so attached to her. She was that special friend they always got to visit with at work. She touched all of our lives. We’ve been fortunate to have her, even though it was for too brief a time. (Gail Barr)
I’m finding it so difficult to express my feelings. It’s as if there are just no words for this sorrow. But please know that Paulette has enriched my life and will continue to do so. I know we’ll be “neighbors” again one day. (Barbara Gautieri)
I have many happy memories of Paulette. (Paula Kryk)
We cannot express our sorrow to you, it is too great! (Bill and Connie Moon)
Paulette and I spent many hours together as children when I visited at Grandpa Messina’s house. She was both my babysitter and my playmate. She will be missed. (Joe Messina)
Paulette had such an uplifting spirit. Never did she feel sorry for herself nor did her handicap stop her. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that you both came for Paul and to David’s reception. We have a wonderful family, and she was an important part of it. Although we didn’t see each other often, know that she was loved. May the wonderful memories of Paulette sustain you and your family during the tough times ahead – and I’m afraid there will be many, as she will certainly be missed. She was a wonderful person. (Marie Maynard)
Paulette gave us all her love and acceptance. She will be so missed but I will try to incorporate her love and acceptance with people I meet. (Roz Panapento)
Paulette was my sister, my mother, my best friend. And now she will be my Angel. (Lucille Messina DiSanto)
The faculty and staff of Hamburg Middle School, Armor Elementary School and Hamburg District Offices have chosen to honor our friend Paulette with a gift to the scholarship fund. Our hope is that this small gesture of respect, in some small way helps to ease the pain for her family in their loss. She will always be remembered for her giving spirit and infectious laughter. (Cindy Bojak on behalf of her many friends in the Hamburg School District)
Emailed comments from family and friends to contribute their input to share their memories of Paulette
I'm so sorry about the loss of your sister. Although I did not know her, maybe one of my songs will bring you some comfort during this time....it's called, "Memories Don't End". I pray for you and your family...and, may it be a blessing and comfort to you all. All My Sympathy (Susan D. Wiseman)
When we were little, Paulette would meet me outdoors and the best thing I would love about her was her giggle. My sisters and I hung around a lot with her. She had the most sweetest smile. Although over the years, we had lost contact, I will never forget her. (Patti Spadacino Ruge)
Just like her name sake, Saint Paul the Apostle, Paulette used her talents to spread the gospel to all that would listen to her and at the same time exhibited the talent of humility. The Lord extorts us to always be humble in our dealings with other people and at the same time to be firm in our beliefs. Your sister seems to have had these talents. Your sister lives on through her husband, children, and all she was in contact with. She ran the good race and fought the good fight. (Ben Strakos)