Meat Manager, Restaurant Owner, Videographer: Patrick Serio Remembered For Friendliness, Ballcaps
More than 400,000 residents of western Massachusetts have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
At the same time, new deaths are reported most days, with about 2,200 victims from the region since the pandemic began. Patrick Serio of Hadley is among them.
Born in Northampton, Serio graduated from Emerson College with a degree in technical theater. Working as an assistant technical director at StageWest in Springfield, Serio met his future wife, Sally, who designed costumes and worked on wardrobe for shows.
In the 1980s, as newlyweds, Serio worked as the meat manager at Serio’s Market. At the time, it was owned and operated by his family.
That’s when he developed a love of flying. But getting a pilot’s license can be expensive.
“So [Patrick] made a deal, and I guess he paid some cash, but mostly it was like, ‘Okay, how many hours can I get for a rib roast?’ So that’s how he got his pilot’s license.”
Sally Serio said — above all things — her husband was a great dad and a real family man. He named a roadside burger and hot dog stand Pete’s Drive-In, after one of his sons. When Pat’s dad retired from the family market, he came to work for Pat at the stand, which Sally said was kind of fun for her husband.
“And then his father passed away and I think Patrick’s heart just went out of it and that’s when he went into the video full time,” she said.
To the observer, Serio did whatever it took to get the perfect shot, climbing up into elevated press boxes. His wife described one memorable rink “where the only access to the booth where he filmed, was you kind of had to crawl through this little hole in the wall. And like, for Yale, you have to go ... straight up the side of a wall, with all this equipment and everything. Wherever he needed to be, that’s where he was.”
Sally Serio said her husband’s videography delivered lasting memories for clients on athletic fields, horse arenas and all over.
“He loved the majesty and the beauty of the horses, but I think it was more the camaraderie and meeting all the people,” she said. “We had clients who became just such good friends over the years, like Hayes Sogoloff.”
Sogoloff, of Charlotte, Vermont, ran a regional Morgan horse show in Northampton for many years.
“[Pat] liked people, and he knew the trainers and he knew some of the owners,” Sogoloff said. “You know he had that smile on his face, every time you saw him. And he made a lot of friends. But whether he would care whether it was a horse or a hockey player, I don’t know, if he cared about as much, as dealing with the people.”
People Serio knew from hockey included Vinny Fratalia in Tewksbury, and there was Chloe Deeb in Plympton who rode horses in competition. Both said they miss Serio very much.
Deeb said Serio was “an easy person to talk to. He was so supportive, so personable.”
Fratalia said Serio was “always willing to talk and do anything he could for you,” he said. “Always had his hat on with the glasses. So that was, that was Pat.”
Sally Serio explained the ballcap helped her husband deal with going bald, and because of lingering head scars from past surgeries for cancer.
“I must have about 25-30 hats from all the different shows and all the different things he had worked over the years. I’m looking at them right now,” she said. “To him, that was a cool thing.”
More recently, Serio got his drone license and became a pilot again, capturing video footage from the air. His wife said he was fastidious about checking wind conditions and before flying over local farms, fields and rivers.
“He loved it. He just he loved being out there in the quiet, and the nature of it. And once in a while, I’d go with him and watch, but I couldn’t say anything, because everything gets recorded,” she said laughing. “I’m a chatty person.”
That included a video from last October, which showed Sally on the beach.
“He loved the shore, loved the boardwalk, but he hated the beach. But he thought that would be a really cool artistic thing to drone the beach,” she said. “And I was sitting on the beach ... That was me.”
About three months later, Serio was admitted to Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton. He died of complications from COVID-19 on February 15. Serio was 61 years old.