Vincent J. Zappi, a long-time resident of Valhalla, NY, passed away on July 9, 2020 at Rosary Hill Home from Lymphoma. He was 90.
Vincent was born in Valhalla on September 16, 1929 to Adele (nee Cassia), an immigrant of Naples, Italy. Lovingly raised by his single mother in White Plains, Vincent learned the value of close family relationships, faith, and hard work. All values that he with his wife, Fanny of 67 years, instilled in his six children.
He was a graduate of White Plains High School and an Alumni of both New York and Columbia Universities earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in communications, respectively. While at NYU he enlisted in the Army ROTC program toward the end of the Korean War, rising to the rank of First Lieutenant. A proud moment came in 2018, when he participated in an “Honor Flight” to Washington, DC to a hero’s welcome and motorcade 60 years after his honorable discharge. While in the Army Signal Corps, he taught Radio Communications and Information Systems to enlisted men and allied officers from several foreign countries at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Teaching would soon become his lifelong profession.
Vincent met his future wife Fanny Raffa, and they were married in 1953. Never drifting from Westchester County, they raised their 6 children initially in White Plains and then Valhalla, where they moved in 1972.
At NYU he excelled in math and began his education career as a college junior substitute teaching the seniors. After graduation, he was hired to teach electrical engineering at the New York Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences at Battle Hill School in White Plains. There were fewer than five hundred students. Several years later, the Institute became Westchester Community College and moved to Valhalla, NY. Vincent was integral to WCC’s success by creating the Audio & Visual department, during the infancy of TV and broadcast communications. He was active in statewide educational organizations, always promoting the opportunity afforded by the Community College system. By the time he retired as Professor Emeritus 40 years later, WCC had grown to nearly 20,000 students. He was a gifted teacher, simplifying complex mathematical theories making them easier to understand. Admired and sought-out by many students he was recognized with Yearbook dedications and testimonial dinners. Respected by his peers and the administration, he was promoted to Full Professor. After his family it was the crowning achievement of his life. No matter where he was; at the gym, a restaurant in Florida, or camping in Yellowstone, Vincent always seemed to run into a former student. He once calculated that during his tenure, he had taught over 10,000 students, both young and old. Many of the student and faculty friendships he made back then continue to this day.
Vincent jumped into retirement just like other areas in his life. His family enjoyed hearing his voice message that answered “We’re out enjoying our retirement”. And enjoy it he did. Early in retirement he was an avid tennis player, enjoyed golf with his sons and was a fixture at the gym well into his late 80’s. He had many passions in life including camping throughout the United States and touring Italy with his family, discovering different facets of his Italian heritage. He made friends easily and was the center of attention at many events. But nothing was as important and dear to him as his family. To Vincent it was always family first. He was his happiest with his family around him whether it be camping cross country, touring the Roman Colosseum with the entire family in tow, listening to a grandchild’s concert or rooting their sport’s team from the stands. As his family grew, this deep parental commitment evolved becoming mentor, coach, and confidant not only to his children and their spouses but also his grandchildren as well. He was a guiding light to the entire family.
Vincent will be lovingly remembered by Fanny, his beloved wife of 67 years. He leaves a terrific legacy behind to his six children: Valerie and Bill Egiziaco of White Plains, Susan and Jorge Marmol of Valhalla, Robert and Cathy Zappi of Vienna, VA, Linda and Ed Magro of West Kingston, RI, James and Rosemary Zappi of Ossining and Diane and Dave Perilli of Cortlandt Manor. His memory will also be treasured by his 14 grandchildren: Jennifer, Margaret (Vinnie), Andrew (Ingrid), Chris (Erin), Tim, Mark (Regina), Brian, Jeff, Brandon, Steven (Cassie), Brianna (Brian), Jessica, Darren (Ally), Jenna and three great grandchildren: Raffi, Mena, and Theo. He will be deeply missed.
Mass of Christian burial will be held on July 14, 2020 at 11:00 at Holy Name of Jesus Church in Valhalla. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Vincent’s name to: The National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, 2 Prospect Hill Road, Eden Hill, Stockbridge, MA 01262.