Scala, who had eight children, 21 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren, died at his Little Neck home Thursday of ailments related to old age, his family said.
"Even though there were so many kids, he always made you feel special and that's not such an easy thing," said his daughter Mary Hayes, 53, of Manhasset. "For him, everything was about family."
Born July 17, 1917, Scala grew up in South Bronx tenements, the son of Italian immigrants. After graduating from Commerce High School in Manhattan in 1935, he began work as a Macy's deliveryman. At night, he attended City College until he was drafted into the Army in October 1941.
Days after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Scala was on his way to Panama, where the United States had set up artillery positions in the jungle to defend the Panama Canal, said his son Ted Scala, 56, a Newsday copy editor.
Later in the war, the elder Scala served as an officer on Liberty supply ships and troop transports, making five round-trips across the Atlantic. He told relatives he was on a ship that collided with another transport in dense fog in the English Channel. Despite casualties, the ships could not stop because they were part of a convoy.
During another mission, Scala organized the evacuation of a ship after it was hit by either a mine or torpedo off the coast of France in the Mediterranean.
Shortly after he left the military in 1945 as a first lieutenant, Scala joined IBM Corp., where he worked for 41 years before retiring. Among his jobs there was helping to develop and manage a worldwide fulfillment system, relatives said.
A parishioner at St. Anastasia Roman Catholic Church in Douglaston, Queens, Scala was a member of the church's Holy Name and Nocturnal Adoration societies. The lifelong Yankees fan lived in Little Neck for nearly 60 years.
Besides his son and daughter, he is survived by his wife, Jeanne, to whom he was married for almost 65 years; sons Joseph of Carmel, Thomas of Floral Park and Peter of Glen Head; and daughters Nancy Scala of Sherman, Conn., and Anne Hill and Louise Scala, both of St. James.
Visiting will be from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at Doyle B. Shaffer Funeral Home in Little Neck. A funeral Mass will be offered at 9:45 a.m. Monday at St. Anastasia Church in Douglaston, with burial at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, Westchester County.