The memorial service for Vito Sisti, a beloved Springs resident who died at just 51 last week, drew such a huge crowd at Springs Presbyterian Church on Saturday that mourners had to stand, sit on folding chairs or sit behind Reverend Tony Larson, who officiated the service.
Larson noted that his church never saw such a crowd, even during the Easter holiday, and it was a testament to how well loved Sisti was in the Springs community. Friends and admirers of Sisti gathered at Ashawagh Hall across the street after the service to socialize and remember Sisti.
The room was decorated with photographs of Sisti and news clippings featuring his many accomplishments as the unofficial “mayor of Springs.” His unique and funny T-shirt collection also adorned the walls, which may have brought Sisti to life most for those already missing him. A table was also set out with rocks, on which anyone could write thoughts, words or remembrances about Sisti.
Sisti was a local auto mechanic and a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard, but more than anything, he was a staunch advocate for the community in Springs, where he lived since 1988. He was a board member of the Springs Improvement Society and helped make possible the renovation of Ashawagh Hall.
It was there, at Ashawagh Hall, that Sisti was curator of many art shows and was an organizer of the Fisherman’s Fair. He was also involved with the Springs Food Pantry and wrote a column about Springs, called “Springs in General,” for The East Hampton Press for five years. Sisti was beloved as a champion of local artists and someone who did whatever else he could do to help his community.
Sisti’s wife Colleen Curtin, who he married in 1990, and her children Nick Stevens and Janine Maloney survive him, along with his mother Marie Ali Sisti and brother James who live on Staten Island.
Sisti was born on September 14, 1961 in Brooklyn and he died on Monday, February 25, 2013 in Springs. He will be cremated and his remains are to be interred at Calverton National Cemetery. Donations in Vito Sisti’s name can be made to the Springs Improvement Society, Springs Food Pantry and Springs Library.