Dedicated educator and community leader with broad influence on Goodhue Center, Zoological Society, other local and national institutions, 'a proud child of immigrants'
Vincent Gattullo was a proud child of two immigrant parents, Tullia and Antonio Gattullo; one who passed through Ellis Island. He was one of seven children, Angelo, Marion Biada, Mario, Robert, Anthony, and George. He was raised and embodied the values that only immigrants would have, such as success was possible in the United States through hard work and courage but most of all to have gratitude for the endless opportunities available to all Americans.
He often spoke of his youth, and of a time he could not remember having dinner without his mother saying there was always room for one more. His parents never turned anyone away who was hungry; they not only fed our family but everyone else who showed up. As many as 20 people daily found their way to their doorstep during the lean times. This made a profound impression on him and he went to work holding down multiple jobs at a young age while still attending school.
Some of his first jobs were as a shoeshine boy in the ferry terminal working for as little as a nickel to as much as 15 cents, delivering bundles of newspapers to local stores and before school delivering milk running up and down six-story walk-up buildings.
Vincent grew to be an accomplished sportsman, participating and medaling in track and field, shot put, the caber toss, football and baseball and later on in life he became a consummate golfer.
While he excelled in sports, school, he met and fell in love with Virginia Bianco. Theirs was a deep, eternal love that took them from New Brighton, Staten Island, N.Y., to Colorado while proudly serving in the Army and back to Staten Island, where they settled on Light House Hill.
Vinnie embraced his parents' core principles and shared their philosophy by serving his community as well as raising a family.
During his 60 years married to his best friend, Virginia, they raised two beautiful children, Caryn and Steven, and were blessed with three grandchildren, Maribel, Madison and Lyndsey. His life's mission has been about investing in relationships, from family, friends to his community.
Being a leader came natural to Vincent; one of his proudest and earliest accomplishments was improving the Goodhue Center, The Children's Aid Society complex. It gave him great personal satisfaction in knowing that the $4,000,000 he raised was used to renovate the Goodhue Mansion, turning an unusable space into an administrative and recreation center, but most importantly building the new children's foster homes and a gymnasium that helped countless generations.
His distinguished career was an amazing accomplishment. For 23 years with the New York City Department of Education, he worked hands on with children, striving daily to inspire them to reach their potential. Vincent was always goal oriented and a dedicated educator.
He earned several degrees and proudly became a New York City public school teacher, and eventually a principal. He is most known for crafting the Sex Education program for the entire New York City school system.
Not wanting to rest on his laurels, Vinnie became an adjunct professor and truly loved teaching at Wagner College, College of Staten Island and St. John's University.
For 15 years as a trustee, five years as president and 25 years as the director of the Staten Island Zoological Society, Vincent raised $65,000,000 to create a place for the whole community to enjoy, but more importantly improving the first educational zoo in America.
Over his 30 years of involvement with the American Parkinson Disease Association Inc., Vincent raised $63,000,000 that funded much-needed research and information and referral centers throughout the United States. He formed an additional foundation in the Netherlands, Netherlands Parkinson's Foundation Inc., that funded research to find a cure for the debilitating disease worldwide.
Vincent was able to positively impact so many lives in more ways that can be recounted because he met and married his soul mate, Virginia, who helped him earn every degree, award, accolade and accomplishment.
His wife, Virginia; two children, Caryn and Steven; three grandchildren, Maribel, Madison and Lyndsey; daughter-in-law, Diane; son-in-law Edward Clark, and brother, George, survive Vincent.
Funeral from Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home is on Friday, Sept. 15, at 9:15 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial is at St. Patrick's RC Church at 10 a.m. Interment will follow at Moravian Cemetery. Friends may visit Thursday from 2 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in Vincent's name to Goodhue Center, 304 Prospect Avenue, S.I., N.Y. 10301 or St. Labre Indian School PO Box 216, Ashland, Mont., 59003-9989 would be appreciated.
Services: St. Patrick's RC Church Friday, September 15, 2017 10:00AM
Visitation: Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home Thursday, September 14, 2017 2-5 & 7-9PM
Memorials: In lieu of flowers, contributions to Goodhue Center 304 Prospect Avenue SI,NY 10301 OR St. Labre Indian School PO Box 216 Ashland, MT 59003-9989
Cemetery: Moravian Cemetery
Location: Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home
Church: St. Patrick's RC Church