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Victor J. Scinto, 74, Korean War veteran

Victor J. Scinto, a Korean War veteran who endured frostbite and other hardships during service that would bring him recognition even on the war's 50th anniversary, died Sunday ). He was 74.

Mr. Scinto, who had lived in Timber Pines since 1995, is remembered by his family for snowmobiling adventures in upstate New York, fishing outings on the Long Island Sound and epic cookouts at his Westchester County home, where he dished out Italian sausage and peppers _ among other delights _ often to more than 100 people at a time.

Growing up the son of Italian immigrants in Port Chester, N.Y., Mr. Scinto joined the Army at age 18 and stayed in for five years, serving with the Army's 54th Engineer Battalion. Family members said he was reluctant to talk about his war service, which was fraught with hardships such as frostbite, lung ailments and chronic arthritis _ not to mention the combat.

But Mr. Scinto received several commendations for his Korean service and was honored earlier this year at a 50th anniversary ceremony in Tampa attended by representatives of the Korean government.

Scinto lived most of his life in Rye, N.Y., and worked as a master mechanic on heavy equipment, participating in major road projects on Interstates 684 and 95.

Family members said the backyard cookouts Mr. Scinto held once or twice a year became legendary among his friends and co-workers in Rye.

"He loved to cook and he loved to see people enjoy his food," said his son, Victor Jr., of St. Petersburg. "They came from everywhere. People you wouldn't see any other time of the year came to the cookouts."

Mr. Scinto continued his cookouts, albeit on a much smaller scale, after moving to Timber Pines with Marie Scinto, his wife of 41 years. Even as he struggled against leukemia, he took plates of food to friends. In the end, he succumbed to an inoperable brain tumor. But his daughter, Karen Conway of Durham, Conn., says he left a legacy of good food and good friends.

"My father loved people, just plain and simple," she said. "He loved people."

_ Robert King covers Spring Hill and can be reached at 848-1432. Send e-mail to rkingsptimes.com.

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