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Patricia Scutellaro, school district nurse, dies at 79

Patricia Scutellaro, a longtime nurse for the Bethpage and Plainview-Old Bethage school districts known to friends for a combination of firmness and compassion, died last Thursday after a long illness.

Scutellaro was 79, said her daughter, Patricia Lane, with whom she had lived in Plainview.

Born and raised in the Bronx, Patricia Scutellaro was described by her daughter and colleagues as a tireless and dedicated nurse. "No matter what I needed I could count on her," said Andrea Spector, nursing coordinator at the Plainview-Old Bethpage school district, where Scutellaro worked as a substitute nurse.

Her daughter said her mother's first nursing position was at what is now part of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in Manhasset, in a children's burn unit. She worked later for what is now another component of that system, North Shore University Hospital at Plainview, where she died Thursday of heart and lung ailments.

Later, she was the nurse for 24 years at the Bethpage school district's junior high school, now the John F. Kennedy Middle School, retiring about 10 years ago, her daughter said.

A friend, Diane Doll of Bethpage, who was a clerk at the middle school, said "She had a knack with the kids - she was very strong but very loving." She said Scutellaro also did some private nursing, providing at-home care.

"I think her friends will remember her mostly for her beautiful brown eyes," Doll said. "When things weren't quite the way she wanted them, she would open those eyes wide and there would be fire in them."

Her husband, Louis M. Scutellaro died in 2003. In addition to her daughter, survivors include her son-in-law Steven Lane and two grandchildren.

Visitation will be Monday at the Fredrick J. Chapey & Sons Bethpage Funeral Home from 2-4:30 p.m. and 7-9:30 p.m.

Mass will be said Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. at St. James Roman Catholic Church in Seaford, with burial to follow at Calverton National Cemetery.

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