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'Unofficial Mayor of Springs' Dies, Service Set for Saturday

Vito Sisti, who ran art shows at Ashawagh Hall for 20 years, passed away on Monday at the age of 51.

The following obituary was prepared on behalf of Vito Sisti's family and edited for style purposes only.

Vito Sisti, a well-known figure around Springs, died suddenly on Monday of causes as yet to be determined. He was 51.

Born in Brooklyn on Sept. 14, 1961, Sisti was the son of Francisco Sisti, who died last year, and Marie Ali Sisti, who survives her son and lives on Staten Island, NY.

After attending schools on Staten Island, where he grew up, and a stint at Wagner College, Sisti joined the U.S. Coast Guard and served on the U.S.S. Midget stationed in Alameda, Calif., and traveling to Alaska and back.When he asked for a transfer to the East Coast, Sisti ended up in Montauk in the mid-80s, and dropped anchor in Springs.

Known as the unofficial mayor of Springs, Sisti was an auto mechanic by trade, but was better known for his civic pride in his adopted town, running the "Vito Sisti Presents" art shows at Ashawagh Hall for 20 years, participating on the board of the Springs Improvement Society, where he spearheaded a renovation of Ashawagh Hall, helping with the Springs Food Pantry, and acting as an organizer for the Fisherman's Fair in recent years. Sisti also composed the "Springs In General" column for The East Hampton Press until last year.

A part of the local art scene, Sisti was immortalized as a "Vito-lope"  — a gold life mask with antlers — by Billy Strong, and as a life-size replica by Springs artist Trish Franey. Said statue could be found wearing a Santa hat at Christmas, or occasionally took up residence in the middle of Pussy's Pond.

Sisti married Coleen Curtin on April 26, 1990. Curtin survives her husband, as does her son, Nick Stevens, and her daughter, Janine Maloney. He is also survived by a brother, James, who resides on Staten Island.

Sisti will be cremated and his remains interred at the Calverton National Cemetery at a later date. Memorial donations to the Springs Improvement Society, Springs Food Pantry, and Springs Library are suggested.

A memorial will be held at the Springs Presbyterian Church with Tony Larson officiating on Saturday at 3 p.m., followed by a reception at Ashawagh Hall.

Please remember Vito Sisti below. Our condolences go out to his family.

Christina DeSanti February 26, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Thoughts and prayers are with his family. I didn't know him personally, but he did an awful lot for this town, and he will be missed by many.
Len Bernard February 26, 2013 at 11:05 PM
Vito was a good man and will be missed by all. I thank him for the great art shows he ran at Ashawagh Hall and for always looking out for the interests of our local arts community. Thanks Vito.
Alma Bisci February 26, 2013 at 11:34 PM
I did not know Vito but I am very good friends with his mom, Marie. He was fortunate to have a mom like her. Marie spoke of him with sincere love and she herself is a very giving and kind person. She says he was a gifted writer and was very close to his friends at Ashawagh Hall . May he enjoy the everlasting peace that is promised to us all. Alma Bisci
Peter Garnham February 27, 2013 at 01:05 AM
He was a great mechanic and a wonderful human being. This community has lost someone who really made a difference. He had a big heart, and was amazingly generous with his time. Vito, man, I never thought I would have to cry for you, but now I do. R.I.P., my friend, I'll miss you.
Terry livolsi February 27, 2013 at 11:48 AM
I know Vito for quite a few years I attended coleen and Vito's wedding. He was a very talented man. Generous man with a wide variety of talents and a wide variety of interests. A huge supporter of the arts especially women artists. He was very intelligent , a smart ass with a wicked sense of humor . I am shocked by his death. This moment in time, is too too bad. My condolences to all
suzi o'connor February 27, 2013 at 12:09 PM
i did not know Vito well...but have always watched him with pride...a wonderful man who was always there for others.....a hugh loss for our whole community.....my thoughts...prayers and love are with his family.......RIP Vito.....
1/2 n 1/2, 2 sugars February 27, 2013 at 12:34 PM
Only the good die young. What a shock, what a loss...
Dru Raley February 27, 2013 at 01:44 PM
We will miss you Vito! You were always very supportive of the Springs Church & food pantry. We know that you will now be planning art shows in heaven! You will be missed..
lauren February 27, 2013 at 01:48 PM
RIP Vito another life gone to soon
James Kennedy February 27, 2013 at 02:38 PM
James Kennedy + Bob Bachler Vito will be sadly missed . During our short time in Springs his welcoming spirit and selfless support of the all that we and other artists ventured was extraordinary and will forever be remembered and appreciated.
Mike Pratt February 27, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Peace Vito, you'll be missed, Mike Pratt
Mark Perry February 27, 2013 at 03:24 PM
One can only hope that Vito got some personal pleasure from all the good He tried to do for the community and local artists. RIP Vito! The twinkle in your eyes will be missed.
PJ Delia February 27, 2013 at 03:36 PM
We lost another light of the community. Prayers for his family.
Stephanie Brussell February 27, 2013 at 04:20 PM
We will miss this great man. RIP Vito
Valerie J. Green February 27, 2013 at 06:20 PM
From the great art shows to the incredible collection of vintage tee shirts, Vito was the heart and soul of Springs. RIP. Won't be the same without him.
Jack Deacy February 27, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Jack Deacy Vito's death is a great loss to our community which he cared so much about and did so much for. Long life to Vito's spirit. And condolences and prayers to his family.
Frank Vespe February 27, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Vito was a good, warm guy; not a bad bone in his body. Certainly, he'll be fixing my brakes when we meet on the other side.
Mikeflies February 27, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Good bye Vito, you will be missed. I hope you are at peace now.
Rich Sperber February 27, 2013 at 09:23 PM
My heart goes out to you Collen and family. We lost a great man. Vito was the kind of guy that would give you his shirt off his back to make you comfortable. Vito was our savior so many times. When something broke down, he was always there with lightning speed, and did what ever was necessary to help you out in order to get you back to work. You will be sorely missed Vito. I am sure that every thing in heaven will working correctly, and you will keep it that way. Thank-you for all your years of service and care. Rest in peace my friend, I know you will be keeping an eye out for all of us. Rich Sperber
mary lou kaler February 27, 2013 at 10:56 PM
So sad.Thanks Vito, for seeing the value of children and animals, and supporting the ponies by letting us do pony rides at the fishermans fair.Sorry for your loss Coleen.Can't make it to service Sat. however will be there inSpirit
Eve Nelson February 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM
I will miss you Vito. The Springs will never be the same without you. Heaven is so lucky to have your company. Sending LOVE from California,
glory days February 28, 2013 at 01:31 PM
R I P Vito small in stature with the heart of a giant
Gerri Wilson February 28, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Knew Vito for 22 years and Springs will always feel his presence. And, like Franke, he'll be my heavenly mechanic too. Thanks Vito
Mo Neill February 28, 2013 at 04:36 PM
I remember Vito's first Ashawaugh art invitational as if it was yesterday. He was a force to bring together Springs' artists not least by all the great parties at his openings. Vito was a very humble guy,never tooting his own horn. He was a poet-mechanic who loved poetry. I remember him saying that poetry sustained him through his Coast Guard stint, but he kept his own poems under a bushel. He was a vital catalyst of what made Springs a community. He refused to join the ubiquitous immigrant bashing & intolerance that one heard all to often at Wolfe's & other venues & too often not very sotto voce. He once said that if he spoke with a Latino accent he too would be blamed for every problem real or imagined in Springs. He was a decent, good man who seemed determined to make Springs the community neighborhood to which he immigrated exactly because of its artistic/bohemian legacy that he quietly elaborated upon, sustained & helped to celebrate, publicly & personally. Springs has lost one of its finest; he will be remembered.
David Gochenour February 28, 2013 at 06:23 PM
The news of Vito's passing made its way to Weed, CA this morning. My thoughts and prayers go out to Vito's family and friends. I know that he will be greatly missed. David Gochenour The River Run Gallery, Weed, CA
BooBa March 01, 2013 at 03:23 AM
I have lost a good neighbor, but the lord has received another angel.
Noreen Giacopelli March 04, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Marie, so sorry to hear of the loss of your son. I am sure he was as wonderful a person as you are. My condolances to you and your family through this most difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Noreen, Staten Island, NY

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