Vince Filutze, who served three terms on the San Marino City Council and two years as the city’s mayor, passed away last week. He was 82.
Born a short distance from the Erie area in North East, Pennsylvania (pop. 4,128) to immigrant parents James and Josephine (Pagano) Filutze, Vince was the youngest of six children. His father was employed by the railroad, while his mother worked for the local Welch’s cannery. Vince attended North East High School, where he lettered in football and basketball. In 1955, upon completion of high school, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps with three of his classmates and completed his basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. He later held duty stations in Hawaii and Japan while operating with the carrier group as a jet aircraft mechanic. He developed an air induction system into the cockpits of fighter jets, which earned him proficiency pay in addition to his regular salary as a corporal. During his enlistment, he also entered tournaments as part of the regional Marine Corps bowling team while entertaining thoughts of competing professionally, upon his honorable discharge in 1958.
However, once his military service ended, Filutze trekked to Southern California with his widowed mother to be closer to his older siblings. He rented an apartment in the Eagle Rock area and worked in construction to provide for his family.
A short time after his arrival in Southern California, he was introduced by friends to his future wife, Carole Anne Boscko, a native of Chicago. She was smitten with his confidence and spirit and he with her engaging smile and energy, as their romance led to marriage shortly thereafter. They brought their first of three daughters into their lives that year (1963) and purchased a home in San Marino in April 1965.
Vince enjoyed working with his hands and was offered a chance to become an apprentice plumber. He jumped at the chance and developed those skills and eventually achieved journeyman status. Ultimately, he took the final step and applied for and passed the test for his contractor’s license. At this point, with “literally” a vested interest in building his community, he started a construction company and established a business offering quality remodel work to city locals. To facilitate the codes and regulations imposed by the city, he regularly attended city planning and council meetings. This piqued his interest in the daily operations of the city and he decided to use his expertise in the building trades to provide insight into the future growth of the city…so, at the urging of others, he decided to run for office.
Council Member Vince Filutze was first elected and held office in 1994 and he remained on the city council through 2007, serving as Mayor from 1997 to 1999. He was proud of his efforts to oversee the building improvements to the main Fire Department, San Marino High School and pushed for a new library, among other projects. Having grown up in a large family, Vince was always a champion of the “little guy” and those less fortunate. He was a simple man at heart and devoted additional time and energy when he could to assist with various projects, including the remodel of Holy Family Church in South Pasadena.
It wasn’t all work though, as his passion for his grandchildren was paramount. His daughters Wendy (Paine), Lisa (Yawn) and Kimberly (Milo) each “donated” to that cause, with grandson’s Zachary (Paine), J.J. and Ben (Yawn) and Trey and Vincent (Milo). Outnumbered but not outshined, his granddaughters Zoey (Paine) and Madeline and Emily (Milo) had a special place in his heart. He was affectionately called “Paga” by those closest to him, a shortened version of grandpa. His visits also typically coincided with the arrival of his favorite treats, characterized by his trademark alias, “the donut man.”
He loved animals and as a teenager, saved his money and purchased a horse for $500. He loved to ride and was able to keep it stabled nearby on his older sister’s farm. Years later, with a desire to ride again, he acquired “Dr. Tucker,” their beloved thoroughbred and it was then, that his youngest daughter was exposed to the joy of being in the saddle.
Vince was also an avid golfer and a longtime member of San Gabriel Country Club. He had a regular group that he enjoyed playing with and developed many friendships in and around the club. On occasion, his son-in-laws Kevin (Paine), Jim (Yawn) and Rob (Milo) were able to join him. His granddaughter Zoey was a regular at their golf camp each summer, as well.
He took pride in his work, his wife and his family…he loved his city and those who he encountered daily. It was a long way for this young, small town boy, growing up in a rural farming community, to the ranks of politician and businessman, in one of southern California’s most beautiful cities.
Vince is also survived by brothers Frank and sisters Victoria and Frances. He was predeceased by brothers Joseph and Pasquale.
A celebration of life will be held for friends and family at San Gabriel Country Club on Sunday September 29, from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. At the family’s request, no flowers or donations, please.