Mary B “Scap“ Gregory (née Scappaticci) was born in Mamaroneck, New York on May 7, 1926 to Bernard Scappaticci, an Italian immigrant, World War I veteran and combat hero, and Hannah Noonan Scappaticci, an Irish immigrant. Scap passed away at the age of 94 on April 25, 2021 in Homosassa, Florida. She was born at home and delivered by her aunt, a midwife who was a very earthy soul and taught Scap to curse at the age of four. Scap continued to use colorful language throughout her life.
At the age of 14, her family moved to Meriden, Connecticut, and while there she attended Larson College, now known as Quinnipiac, for two years, getting an associate’s degree in journalism. In her early 20s, while still living with her parents, her life was saved by the family cat, who alerted her before she went into the empty house that there was an intruder attempting to pick the lock at the side door.
In 1949 at the age of 23, she enlisted in the US Women’s Army Corps, where she first got the nickname “Scap”, and in December 1952 she was honorably discharged at the rank of first lieutenant. She relocated to Washington DC, where she worked for several newspapers. There, she met and married Nicholas Gregory. After their first child Maura was born in DC, they moved to Northern Virginia, where they had a second child, Paul. Scap made sure she taught them to curse at an early age. She also made sure to teach them to see the injustice and racism around them in their segregated Virginia community.
During the 1960s, Scap was very involved in the civil rights movement. As a member of the Council On Human Relations in Fairfax County Virginia, she worked to eliminate Virginia’s poll tax, which kept many African-American citizens from being able to vote. She also worked hard in the campaign to enact the Federal Fair Housing Act, going door to door in her segregated white Virginia neighborhood, her two young children in tow, collecting signatures on a petition in favor of the act. Many a door was slammed in her face. However it was enacted into law in 1968.
In 1968, she returned to working full-time, for the US Postal Service, which even after retirement she continued to refer to as her “alma mater”. In the late 1970s, while in her 50s, Scap returned to college and obtained her four year degree at George Mason University in Virginia, all the while continuing to work full time and caring for her family.
After she retired, in 1986 she and Nick bought a home in Homosassa, Florida and relocated there. Scap continued her political involvement, joining the Citrus County Democrats, the Citrus County Women’s Democratic club, becoming a board member of the Florida Low Income Housing Association, co-founding a local chapter of the National Association for the Mentally Ill, and joining several other organizations. She was usually the secretary of these organizations, because she was able to take notes quickly in short hand, and she would later type the meeting notes. Sometime during the decade from 2000 to 2010, Scap began joining a weekly peace vigil on route 19 in Homosassa Florida, which she continued to do until she was too frail. She also participated in many demonstrations and rallies for the causes she cared about.
After Nick died in 2009, and while she was in her 80s, Scap became a champion for homeless residents of Citrus County. In addition to advocating for permanent housing for them, she also would invite them to her home once a week for a meal and a shower, and invite them to swim in her pool. She also paid for veterinary care for their pets. She continued to do this for several years, and only stopped when she became too frail to continue. She was known to give money to any poor and homeless person that she saw, and always gave a very high tip at restaurants and anywhere she went. She donated to more charitable organizations and political causes than can possibly be listed here. Her solidarity with, and generosity and dedication to, members of the working class cannot possibly be understated. For the last 13 years of her life, she could be easily spotted when driving around town in her Prius because her rear bumper and hatchback door were completely covered with political bumper stickers.
Scap never stopped fighting racism, war and injustice. She was well read and stayed well informed about global issues, and frequently wrote brilliant Letters to the Editor of local papers.
Scap’s Brothers Joseph Scappaticci and Vincent Scappaticci predeceased her. She is survived by her daughter Maura Gregory (Mel) of Mohegan Lake, New York, her grandchildren Andres and Paris of New York, and her son Paul of Homosassa, Florida. She also is survived by her nephew Dan Lawrence (Martha) of Lilburn, Georgia, nephew Johnny Scappaticci (Susan) of Leesburg, Florida, niece Gloria Lee of Dowling Park, Florida, nieces Carol Busa (Dan) and Nancy Scappaticci-Galonski (Robert) of Meriden, Connecticut, nephew Paul Scappaticci (Jackie) of Hartford, Connecticut, and nephew Michael Lawrence (Kathy) of Newton, New Jersey.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to just about any charitable or progressive cause that you can think of. Scap always did. Heinz Funeral Home, Inverness, FL.
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