J. Peter Scolforo, 86, of Lee, passed away at home on Saturday, April 30, 2022 after a courageous battle with cancer. Pete was born in Lee on August 21, 1935 to Leo J. and Kathleen M. Scolforo. He was a graduate of St. Mary’s School and Lee High School, class of 1953.
Sports have always been a big deal in Lee, and basketball was Pete’s focus in high school. In his senior year his team made it all the way to the county championship game against Pittsfield High, where the Lee High Wildcats did the seemingly impossible – they beat Pittsfield to become the Berkshire County champs, the first time in Lee High history. The legendary championship, and Pete’s part in it, remain family lore. As an adult he coached several youth sports teams.
Pete married his high school sweetheart, Barbara Noyes. They would have celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary on June 14.
Pete graduated from GE’s tool and die apprentice course and worked in both Pittsfield and Holyoke. In the 1960s he worked for Kimberly-Clark in Lee as a maintenance engineer. In 1969 Pete became superintendent of the Lee Highway Department. In 1970 the Department of Public Works was created and he became superintendent with oversight of additional town departments – sewer, water, town buildings (except schools), the landfill, tree warden and others.
Pete’s exceptional grant writing skills were a benefit to the town. During his tenure the town expanded its sewer system, obtained grants to build the addition to the town library, created dams on October Mountain to augment the town’s water supply, closed the town landfill, overhauled Main Street’s streetscape, built a new water filtration plant and planted more than 1,000 trees in town. In 1996, Pete retired after 27 years at the helm.
After retiring Pete could be found riding around his yard, both solo and with kids and grandkids, in a certain green golf cart painted like a DPW vehicle - one of his treasured gifts. He loved hunting, golf, gardening, birding, traveling, drinking an occasional coffee royal, and woodworking. Pete found great joy from traveling throughout his two favorite places in the world – Italy and the U. S. national parks.
His workshop was also legendary. He was the only person who could find anything in it, and what magnificent things emerged from it: wooden toys, bookcases, birdhouses.
Pete was a truly dedicated family man – he and Barbara attended countless grandchildren’s sports events, school activities and theater performances.
Pete served for the good of the people of Lee in other ways. He chaired the Lee Planning Board, 1966-71, and served on the Lee Board of Public Works for the last seven years. He was past treasurer of the Lee Sportsmen’s Club. His love of reading led to a long relationship with the Lee Library, where he served on the board for many years. He was a Lee Bank corporator.
Pete was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Lee Sons and Daughters of Italy, each for over 50 years. He and Barbara enjoyed Mac-Haydn Theatre for nearly 50 years. A devoted Catholic, he gave his time and talent first to St. Francis Church in South Lee, and then for many years to St. Mary’s Church in Lee.
He had a tremendous sense of humor and fair play, and was a great storyteller. He always believed that tomorrow would be a wonderful day. His guidance, love and friendship will be missed. We will all try to remember your direction – whether it’s “basta” or “piano, piano”.
In addition to his parents, Pete was predeceased by a brother, Michael Scolforo. Surviving in addition to his wife, Barbara, are his sons, John Jr., Robert (Robin), and James (Sue); his daughter Nancy Masterson (Bud); six grandchildren: Seth (Kate), Arielle (Dennis), John III, Anthony, Cody and Carli as well as four great grandchildren; brother, Leo Scolforo, Jr. (Jan) and sister, Ellen Whittaker (Bill); and many nieces and nephews.
A Liturgy of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, May 10, at St. Mary’s Church, Main Street, Lee. Burial will follow in St. Mary’s Cemetery. Calling hours will be from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, May 9 at Kelly Funeral Home, Lee.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made payable to either the Lee Library Assoc. or the Lee Sons and Daughters of Italy Scholarship Fund in care of Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main Street, Lee, MA 01238.
If you would like to leave a message of condolence or share pictures with the family, please visit our web site at www.kellyfuneralhome.net
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Lee Library Association
C/O Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main St., Lee MA 01238
Lee Sons and Daughters of Italy Scholarship Fund
c/o Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main Street, Lee MA 01238