Feb. 5, 1929 - Dec. 30, 2017
One of his many nephews and nieces once asked Peter A. Scaccia why he decided to become an Erie County Sheriff's deputy.
"I wanted to help people," he answered, recalled the nephew, Philip LaNasa,"and police work was the way I thought I could help the most people."
Mr. Scaccia, a Korean War veteran who served with the Sheriff's Office for 31 years, died on Saturday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital after a long illness. He was 88.
Born and educated on Buffalo's West Side, he served in the Army in Korea, and then returned to Buffalo and took a job as a sheriff's deputy in 1953.
During his long career in law enforcement, he rose to the rank of captain, and then chief of detectives under the late Sheriff Kenneth J. Braun in the 1970s.
He worked on many major cases, including the successful investigation into the .22-Caliber Killer crimes that terrorized Buffalo's black community in 1980. The investigation resulted in the arrest and conviction of the late Joseph G. Christopher, who was implicated in 10 killings in Western New York and New York City.
Mr. Scaccia worked closely with the Buffalo FBI office on many investigations into organized crime and major crimes in Erie County. For about 15 years, he also headed the Sheriff's security operations at Buffalo Bills games and the Erie County Fair.
A devout Catholic, he made six visits to the Vatican, where one of his uncles served as a priest.
Known for his sense of humor and his help to local charities, he raised thousands of dollars for the Ronald McDonald House, the Buffalo News Neediest Fund, Cradle Beach and other causes.
He belonged to several organizations, including the Rascals, a luncheon group of prominent Buffalonians who took delight in chatting about politics and other local issues.
"He's had many health issues over the years since his retirement, but Pete just kept rolling along, and helping other people," said LaNasa, the nephew. "He never married, never had kids of his own, but he loved kids. For his six nephews and nieces, his 14 grand-nephews and grand nieces, and his five great-grand nephews and nieces, he was like a guardian angel."
Mr. Scaccia, an Amherst resident, is survived by a sister, Jeanette LaNasa, and a brother, Carmello Scaccia.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 4375 Harris Hill Road, Williamsville.