Hal Angelo Vita, Sr – 1927 – 2011

Hal Angelo Vita, Sr., 83, of Somers, entered into eternal peace Friday, April 15, 2011 in the comfort of his home, surrounded by his loving wife Frances Vita (Roupe) and family.

Born on September 22, 1927, son of Giuseppe and Angelina Vita, he was raised in Hartford, CT, and lived life to the fullest. He honorably served in the U.S. Air Force from 1945 to 1947.  During that time, he met his wife and soul mate of 63 years, Frances Roupe.

In 1962, Hal, Frankie and their five children opened the doors of the Shallowbrook Equestrian Center   where he touched the lives of the hundreds of adults, children and families who came through those stable doors.  During his lifetime, Hal spent time in Munich studying horsemanship, founded the Connecticut Valley Hunt Club, was President of the Connecticut Hunter Jumper Association and coached several generations of riders, including his own children to National and State equestrian championships.  He started polo at the University of Connecticut and coached the polo team to their first National Intercollegiate Polo Championship in 1972 with a follow up win in 1973.  He remained actively involved in the polo community, whether it was teaching a new rider how to hold a mallet or coaching high school players to multiple interscholastic polo championships.  Nearly every Friday night, he and Frankie could be found at the stable watching and coaching from the sidelines at Shallowbrook.

Throughout the many years Hal coached hundreds of young riders, teaching them much more than the fundamentals of horsemanship.  He instilled a lifetime of strength, courage and pride in each student who had the honor of riding with “Mr. Vita”.

Besides his loving wife, Hal is survived by his three sons, Joseph Merle Vita and wife, Laura, of South Carolina, Francis Salvador Vita of Somers and Hal Angelo Vita Jr. and partner, Thomas Keough of Ellington; his two daughters, Angela “Pink” LeRoyer and husband, William of Edgartown, Ma, and Sally Anne Allison and husband, Geoffrey  of Newtown, his former daughter-in-law, Kathy Vita, his fourteen grandchildren, Anthony, Jennifer, William, Jr., Dominic, Joey, Stephanie, Hal, III, Logan, Molly, Mackenzie, Matt, Angelina, Johanna, and Asa; and four great-grandchildren, Kaylyn, Boden, Sophia and Colin.

In celebration of his life, the Vita family invites their family and friends to join them on Monday, April 18 for a memorial service on the polo field of Shallowbrook, 247 Hall Hill Road, Somers, CT from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to the U.S. Polo Training Foundation, 70 Clinton Street, Tully, NY 13159 or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Somers Funeral home is caring for the arrangements. To leave an online condolence, please visit Somersfuneralhome.com

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5 Responses to Hal Angelo Vita, Sr – 1927 – 2011

  1. Lauren Bousquet says:

    Rest in peace, sir. I will never forget all you taught me, and others, during my time with you at Shallowbrook! <3

  2. Anne Callahan says:

    I honor a great teacher, who taught me perseverance as a humble student in 1975, and with a bit of humor. My thoughts and prayers to the family. Mr Vita has left his legacey.

    Sincerely,
    Anne K. Callahan

  3. Lisette Rimer says:

    Dear friends at Shallowbrook,

    I was so deeply sorry to just learn of Mr. Vita’s passing. We had the most wonderful lesson with him and Sally just weeks before he died. He was so patient with our beginner group of ten middle school students. He could truly reach every level from championship to first timers holding a mallet. Our kids always felt great about their ability and about the game even though they could barely trot. He was a master at presenting a complex sport on a simple level so that we could have fun. We came back with a different group for over ten years, thanks to Mr. Vita. He was dear, and kind, and knowledgeable. I am so personally sorry that we will never see him again. He was a great teacher and a friend. When we met for our annual lesson, it was like meeting an old friend. He was loyal to the end, even about personal matters. He gave his sincerest condolences the year I could not come because my son died. I am so sorry to have to do the same for him. I hoped to see him forever.

    Sincerely,

    Lisette Rimer

  4. Terese King says:

    I had commented to current barn friends about learning to ride at Shallowbrook during my summers at the Yankee Trails Girl Scout Camp. Mr Vita Sr was a vital part of this learning and one that will never be forgotten including the third summer when we were attempting to learn to stand on a walking horse with Sal nearly getting lifted off her feet with me clutching her hand and Hal Sr on the end of the lunge line urging me to “stop looking down.”

    Rest easy Mr Vita..your legacy will always go on.

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