Vinnie Socci lived his entire life in New Canaan. He was born on Locust Ave. and moved only once, to a home around the corner on Forest St. It was there that Socci died, on May 9, 2010. He was 70 years old. On Thursday, a weeping willow was planted in his memory on the western bank of the pond in .
The tree was donated by Socci’s friends, Suzi and Michael Covino, who own . The weeping willow was so large that requested a police escort for the trip from Frogtown Road to Mead Park. Pauley, along with Superintendent of Parks, John Howe, crew chief Ben Buckner and groundsman Dave Peters did the planting.
Socci’s widow, Susan, watched with the Covinos.
“Vinnie was a true native who really loved this town,” she said. “He was active until he got sick.”
Socci said her husband entered New Canaan politics when he ran for town clerk as a 24-year-old. Over the years he held numerous positions in town government, including 10 years as second selectman, and terms on the Park and Recreation Commission and the Zoning Commission. Families of a certain age will remember Socci’s restaurant, Mattie’s, which was located where is now. It featured arcade games and a kid-friendly menu that made it a popular party spot. Socci retired after selling the restaurant in 2005.
“He was only retired for two weeks,” Susan Socci said. “Then he went right back to work. He became a driver, transporting special needs kids.”
Michael Covino said he chose a weeping willow to honor Socci, because it is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring.
“It’s a symbol of rebirth and of the spirit going on,” he said.