OBITUARY

Dr. Joseph "Joe" N. Scionti

September 25, 1931July 1, 2018
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Dr. Joseph N. Scionti, retired UMass Dartmouth history professor and Air Force veteran, died July 1, 2018.

Son of the late Joseph and Assunta Scionti of Dorchester, and brother to the late Teresa (Scionti) Korgol, Joe was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1931. He attended Boston Public Schools where he excelled in his studies and joined the Air Force in March 1952. Stationed in Germany in 1955, Joe was a Staff Sergeant and a Ward Master in the Psych Unit at the US military hospital in Wiesbaden. While there, Joe attended classes at Maryland University Overseas Program and met Elsa Nicolovius. The two were married in December 1955 and lived for a time in Wiesbaden, with Elsa’s family.

Discharged in November 1957, Joe and Elsa returned to Boston, where Joe earned his Bachelor’s at Suffolk University, Master’s at Tufts, and PhD at Brown University where he received a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Program) Fellowship. In 1965, Joe joined the faculty in the History Department at what was then SMTI and would later become SMU, and eventually UMass Dartmouth. He specialized in the Renaissance and Reformation, but also taught Western Civilization, and the history of both Italy and Germany. Known for his excellent teaching skills and ability to keep students engaged, Joe’s classes were highly sought after and frequently had long waiting lists. His “Mary Travers” wig and habit of reciting poetry during class were legendary among students. Joe was the first recipient of the Leo M. Sullivan Teacher of the Year Award (1971) and was active in the social and academic life of the campus.

A popular speaker, Joe often gave lectures to area groups such as the Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus, and the Unitarian Universalist church. Popular topics included history and even the mafia.

Joe loved basketball and was a life-long Celtics fan and a full-season ticket holder since 1960. He shared his great love of basketball in general and the Celtics specifically with his children, bringing first his daughter to all the games, and then his son, and for many years now his granddaughter. He remained an ardent and faithful fan through the good times and the bad. Through rain or shine, snow or sleet – or Sidney Wicks starting in the front-court – he rarely missed a game and was with the Celtics either in person in the Garden, or in spirit on the road for every thrilling win, and every crushing defeat.

Joe had a great love of family and was happiest when surrounded by family and friends discussing history and politics, sports, movies, or music. Joe and Elsa traveled frequently to Germany to see family and friends but also traveled extensively throughout the US and Europe. Elsa taught German at Canton High School where she ran the longest running international high school exchange program in the US, which just celebrated its 40th year. Joe frequently took part in the activities of the exchange and after retiring as a full-time teacher, Joe traveled each year with the exchange.

Joe spoke fluent German and Italian, and could read and translate French and Latin.

He is survived by his wife Elsa, daughter Lorelei Scionti of Dartmouth, son Constantine Scionti and his wife Patti Hathaway of Newton, granddaughter Samantha Scionti and her wife Tye Downing and their daughter TJ of Boston.

Visiting hours are scheduled for Saturday, July 7, 2018 from 1-4 with a brief service to follow at 4 pm at Waring-Sullivan Home at Dartmouth, 230 Russells Mills Road, Dartmouth, MA. A private burial with military honors will take place later in the month at the Massachusetts National Cemetery on Cape Cod. For online tribute/directions www.waring-sullivan.com.

  • FAMILY

  • The late Joseph N. Scionti, Father
  • The late Assunta (Margozzi) Scionti, Mother
  • Elsa Nicolovius, Wife
  • Lorelei Scionti, Daughter
  • Constantine Scionti & his wife Patti Hathaway, Son
  • Samantha Scionti & her wife Tye Downing & their daughter TJ, Granddaughter

Services

PREVIOUS SERVICES:

  • Visitation Saturday, July 7, 2018
  • Funeral Service Saturday, July 7, 2018

OTHER SERVICES:

  • Burial at Mass National Cemetery Bourne at a later date
REMEMBERING

Dr. Joseph "Joe" N. Scionti

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Patricia Vallely

July 7, 2018

I would like to extend my deep condolences to Elsa, Lorelei and Constantine and the rest of the family. I knew Joe through his wife Elsa, our beloved German teacher at Canton High School 1978-1982.
He was a wonderful man with a great sense of humor. Thank you for making available the tribute movie for us to be able to watch an extraordinary life. Because of Joe and his wife Elsa, many other lives also became extraordinary. I cannot express the correct amount of gratitude for that.
With deepest respect,
Patricia Vallely
CHS class of 1982

Nicole Boudria

July 7, 2018

Dr. Scionti was one of my first professors my freshman year at UMass Dartmouth. I loved his lectures in Western Civilization. They were filled with fascinating nuggets of information. He would ask the class questions, and if we didn't get it right, he would say " Those are very creative answers, but not quite what we're looking for." , very encouraging to students that way. Dr. Scionti wanted everyone to do well. I sepecially enjoyed his discussions at the end of class about Peter Paul and Mary and Burl Ives. I offer my deepest sympathies to the Scionti family. All of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Sincerely,
Nicole R. Boudria B.A., M.A.
Fall River, Massachusetts

James T. Griffith

July 6, 2018

I am surely here in sympathy with the Scionti family as I am equally sure many others are. I am also sure that you will be told of the many ways in which Joe was what UMass (SMTI & SMU) wanted to be. All of that will be true. I hope it is useful for you to know that beyond caring about his subject, and learning and knowing in general, he also "cared" about the rest of us. He was not to be put off by the "self-minded" or the "self-important" or worse the "self-aggrandizing". He stood on principle and fought for those who had less of a voice. He supported that which made the Faculty Federation great and in turn made our campus a GREAT place for learning and the launching of minds. We miss him greatly.

James T. Griffith, Ph.D., CLS (NCA)
Past President, UMass Faculty Federation, Local 1895
Chancellor Professor Emeritus

David Carreiro

July 6, 2018

As a Chemistry major, there's not really much reason to connect with a History professor other than to fill electives in your curriculum. I remember having one fellow student tell me to take the class because of how "easy" it was. I also remember another student telling me how amazing his lectures were and that I wouldn't want to stop taking his classes. There is no doubt that both were right. Yes, his classes were easy, but as it turns out, because he made you want to absorb the material like a sponge. Even the format of the lectures: a) 5-10 minutes of current events, b) class lecture, and c) 5-10 minutes of either poetry or some great story about his life. Take good notes and you would succeed. It was hard, though, as sometimes you just wanted to hear him speak. Oh by the way, it was all from memory. No blackboard. No lecture notes. Just amazing his command of the subject matter. And man, how I wanted to earn those stamps: the owl to signify wisdom and the fist for a solid answer. I remember a third, but I believe it was a bull that no one really wanted (wink, wink). He never knew who I was, but I remember him 20 years later and always will. I had the chance to see him at a local mall during Christmas time some years after I graduated. I remember having laryngitis, but still wanting to speak with him like he was a celebrity. He said, "Merry Christmas, but save your voice, please." The last time I saw and spoke with him, but not the last time I thought of him. His family was and is lucky.

Ed Thompson

July 5, 2018

As an inspiring teacher and for many years as a faculty friend and colleague, Joe Scionti was one of the finest people I've ever known. Other than his family, there was only one thing Joe loved more than teaching: the Boston Celtics. Or maybe it's the other way around? Yes, certainly, it's the other way around! No one can sustain the passion for teaching that he had without profound and life-long love. Even though I was an English major, the first I ever heard of Chaucer's Clerk was in one of Joe's classes - and the Chaucerian text Joe quoted to describe that Medieval scribe apply even more aptly to Joe himself: "gladly would he learn and gladly teach."

Richard Waring

July 4, 2018

It is with sadness that I learned of Professor Scionti's passing. It is with joy that I remember my many classes and private conversations I had with him. I am continually telling others of his wonderful humor, extensive knowledge, and warm personality. The world will not see his like again.

With warmest regards to is friends, family and wonderful wife Elsa,
Richard Waring

Maureen Flanagan-Rocha

July 4, 2018

Dear Mrs. Scionti and Family,
My name is Maureen Flanagan-Rocha and I was blessed with having Professor Scionti a few times in my Nursing/Sociology Education at SMU (grad of 1985). My Dad, James Flanagan worked with him from SMTI to SMU and always spoke of him with the highest regard. I recently completed my Masters in Nursing Education and I think back to all my teachers and the gift they gave me. I have not thought of that "A wise old owl........" in many years but I hope to pull him out this year and carry him on. Thank you for sharing this brilliant man with all the SMU students. Cherish and hold on to his memories.
Sincerely,
Maureen Flanagan-Rocha 1985

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Biography

Dr. Joseph N. Scionti, retired UMass Dartmouth history professor and Air Force veteran, died July 1, 2018.

Son of the late Joseph and Assunta Scionti of Dorchester, and brother to the late Teresa (Scionti) Korgol, Joe was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1931. He attended Boston Public Schools where he excelled in his studies and joined the Air Force in March 1952. Stationed in Germany in 1955, Joe was a Staff Sergeant and a Ward Master in the Psych Unit at the US military hospital in Wiesbaden. While there, Joe attended classes at Maryland University Overseas Program and met Elsa Nicolovius. The two were married in December 1955 and lived for a time in Wiesbaden, with Elsa’s family.

Discharged in November 1957, Joe and Elsa returned to Boston, where Joe earned his Bachelor’s at Suffolk University, Master’s at Tufts, and PhD at Brown University where he received a DAAD (German Academic Exchange Program) Fellowship.

In 1965, Joe joined the faculty in the History Department at what was then SMTI and would later become SMU, and eventually UMass Dartmouth. He specialized in the Renaissance and Reformation, but also taught Western Civilization, and the history of both Italy and Germany. Known for his excellent teaching skills and ability to keep students engaged, Joe’s classes were highly sought after and frequently had long waiting lists. His “Mary Travers” wig and habit of reciting poetry during class were legendary among students. Joe was the first recipient of the Leo M. Sullivan Teacher of the Year Award (1971) and was active in the social and academic life of the campus.

A popular speaker, Joe often gave lectures to area groups such as the Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus, and the Unitarian Universalist church. Popular topics included history and even the mafia.

Joe loved basketball and was a life-long Celtics fan and a full-season ticket holder since 1960. He shared his great love of basketball in general and the Celtics specifically with his children, bringing first his daughter to all the games, and then his son, and for many years now his granddaughter. He remained an ardent and faithful fan through the good times and the bad. Through rain or shine, snow or sleet – or Sidney Wicks starting in the front-court – he rarely missed a game and was with the Celtics either in person in the Garden, or in spirit on the road for every thrilling win, and every crushing defeat.

Joe had a great love of family and was happiest when surrounded by family and friends discussing history and politics, sports, movies, or music. Joe and Elsa traveled frequently to Germany to see family and friends but also travelled extensively throughout the US and Europe. Elsa taught German at Canton High School where she ran the longest running international high school exchange program in the US, which just celebrated its 40th year. Joe frequently took part in the activities of the exchange and after retiring as a full-time teacher, Joe traveled each year with the exchange.

Joe spoke fluent German and Italian, and could read and translate French and Latin.

He is survived by his wife Elsa, daughter Lorelei Scionti of Dartmouth, son Constantine Scionti and his wife Patti Hathaway of Newton, granddaughter Samantha Scionti and her wife Tye Downing and their daughter TJ of Boston.

Visiting hours are scheduled for Saturday, July 7, 2018 from 1-4 with a brief service to follow at 4 pm at Waring-Sullivan Home at Dartmouth, 230 Russells Mills Road, Dartmouth, MA. A private burial with military honors will take place later in the month at the Massachusetts National Cemetery on Cape Cod. For online tribute/directions www.waring-sullivan.com.