By Marie Gilmore

At the beginning of December, a well-known community member died while coordinating a memorial community fundraiser due to a tragic and fatal car accident.

Chris Scigliano, 44, was the event coordinator for the Deputy Morrell Memorial Carnival, a scholarship fundraising event for a long-time Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy who died in June after a battle with cancer.

Scigliano, the general manager of Jake’s Wayback Burgers in FishHawk, was known for getting involved. He would support Toys for Tots with annual visits with Santa, fundraisers for schools and sports associations, donations, and was well as being known in FishHawk as an entrepreneur and community advocate.

On the second night of the event, held on Church of Christ property on Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Saturday, December 2, Scigliano opened a side gate to allow a vehicle to exit and was struck as he stepped onto Lithia Pinecrest Rd. Scigliano was first hit by a Chevrolet pickup truck. The impact caused him to be struck by a second vehicle, a Ford SUV. He was pronounced dead following the crash.

A GoFundMe campaign created by close friend Craig Heid has raised almost $15,000 for his wife, Maryanne; three kids, ages 11, 9 and 3; and step-son, 21.

A local charity, Operation Lotus, has also pledged 100 percent of proceeds will go to the family and has set up a site
Quickly following the tragic accident, community members, including Operation Lotus founder Melanie Brockmeier-Jordy organized a candlelight vigil at Park Square. More than 200 residents gathered to light candles and acknowledge the loss.

Mary Berg, community specialist of local foster children’s home A Kid’s Place, wsa in attendence at the vigil. “Every year, Chris would call us and have us bring kids for breakfast with Santa and breakfast with the Easter Bunny. He was very generous to our foster kids and will be missed.”

The Scigliano family also attended the vigil and funeral services were held at Serenity Meadows and also in New York the following weeks.

Christopher James Scigliano, 44, of Lithia, graduated from Holy Cross High School. He lived in New York for 34 years and moved his family to Fishhawk 10 years ago.

Chris is survived by his loving family; wife of 12 years Maryanne; children Matthew, Nicole, Andrew and step son Danny; sister Elizabeth, brothers Nicholas and Michael; parents James and Leslie Scigliano.

“We know that Chris loved this community and loved his family,” said Brockmeier-Jordy, “I hope it gave his family a sense of peace knowing Chris made a huge impact on this community and that there has been a large loss.”

To assist the family, visit

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Marie Gilmore
Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!