AUBURN — Vito F. Puiia, 96, of Franklin Street, Rumford, died Friday, May 13, at the Hospice House.

He was born in Rumford on Sept. 24, 1914, the son of Joseph and Giovanna (Vallone) Puiia, and graduated from Stephens High School in Rumford, Class of 1932. During World War II he served in the U.S. Navy.

He owned and operated Puiia’s Shoe Repair Shop on Waldo Street in Rumford for many years until retirement.

He was a communicant of St. Athanasius–St. John Church, a 50-year member of the American Legion, and a 50-year and third-degree member of the Knights of Columbus. He helped organize Little League basketball and baseball in the area. He was a member of the semi-pro basketball team, “Rumford Redskins,” prior to World War II.

He was married in Rumford in 1946 to the former Lena Gagnon, who died in Rumford on April 18, 1996.

Survivors include his daughter, Gayle Puiia McDevitt of Orrington; grandchildren, Stephen Merrow of Boston, Mass., and Aric Merrow and wife, Nicole, of Orrington; three great-grandchildren, Brooke, Allie and Christopher Merrow of Orrington; and a brother, Anthony Puiia of Mexico.

Friends are invited to sign the family guestbook and share their thoughts, condolences and memories online at

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