Obituary of William Scirto
William T. Scirto, owner of Scirto’s Jewelers and staunch supporter of downtown Lockport for over 70 years passed away on Wednesday, June 27, 2018.
Born on September 3, 1927 to Italian immigrants, Joseph John and Domenica Scirto, the youngest of six children. He was husband to his beloved wife, Camille, who passed away in 1996. He was father of Lockport attorney, Thomas (Monie), and grandfather to David and Andrea.
William graduated from Lockport High School in 1945. Three months before his graduation, William’s brother, Joseph, a paratrooper in World War II, was killed in action. Joseph named William as beneficiary of his military insurance policy, leaving William $10,000. William’s other brother, Anthony had gone to watchmaker school and wanted to open a jewelry store. Anthony and William used the insurance money to start the business. They chose One Main Street, formerly, Zulia Shoe Repair, as it was one of the few open spaces on Main Street at the time. The brothers opened Scirto’s Jewelers on December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, in 1946. The business has been at One Main Street ever since.
William, a World War II veteran himself, worked at the jewelry store part time while going to college at the University of Buffalo on the G.I. Bill, graduating in 1952 with a Bachelor of Science degree. For the next couple of years, William worked at Harrison’s Radiator as an industrial engineer, while keeping his hand in the jewelry store. In 1954, he left Harrison’s to become a full time jeweler with his brother.
In January, 1956, William, Anthony and Doctor Anthony ADoc@ Scalzo purchased the Clinton Building, where their businesses were located. Doc Scalzo’s dental office was located on the second floor of the building. The Clinton Building, named after Governor DeWitt Clinton, was built in 1926, and was one of the first steel beamed buildings in Niagara County. In 1958, Anthony desired to relocate to Texas, to go into the jewelry business with a friend. Anthony would later return and open Tony Scirto's Lockport Trophy. William purchased Anthony's interest in Scirto’s Jewelers, and William and Doc Scalzo purchased Anthony’s interest in the Clinton Building. In 1975, William purchased Scalzo’s interest in the building.
In 1966, William purchased Harry Hamill’s Jewelry Store, then located at 77 Main Street. William operated both stores on Main Street. He eventually merged Hamill’s store into his One Main Street store a few years later when Lockport Urban Renewal commenced its "revitalization" of downtown.
In 1972, William and his brother-in-law, Anthony Ruggeri, opened Mother’s Drinking Palor and Eating Establishment in the basement of the Clinton Building, in the site now occupied by Gonzo’s. With its Tiffany lamps, and hardwood bar, it was modeled after a 1920's speak easy. In 1976, William’s wife, Camille, opened Lockport Electrolysis on the second floor of the Clinton Building. While it has changed hands over the years, it was still a successful electrolysis business in Camille’s original location until this year. Debbie Williams, his jewelry store manager, was hired in 1988, and continues to manage the store. In 2000, he remodeled a suite of offices in the building into a two bed room apartment above the jewelry store, where he lived until his death. The Lockport Business Association gave William its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
William had been a member of a number of organizations in Lockport, including the Knights of Columbus, where he served as Grand Knight, the Elks, the Moose, and the Exchange Club, to name a few. In addition, he had served on a number of boards, that included the Lockport Town and Country Club, and the Lockport Fire Board, for which was President. He was an avid golfer and fisherman.
William had seen downtown Lockport as a bustling retail center in the 50's and 60's, a shell of itself in the 70's and 80's, and its current’s redevelopment. He had seen the Lockport Mall come, and go. Through it all, William and Scirto’s Jewelers had been open for business at One Main Street for over 70 years.
Relatives and friends may call Monday, July 2nd from 4‑8 PM at Prudden & Kandt Funeral Home, 242 Genesee St., Lockport. A prayer service will be held in Prudden & Kandt at 9:30 AM, Tuesday, July 3rd, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10:00 AM in St. John's Roman Catholic Church, 168 Chestnut St., Lockport.
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