Steve Vozzella was a competitive bowler for well over a decade.

He had won tournaments and had several trophies to prove it.

Steve Vozzella and his wife, Megan. Photo courtesy of Maine AFL-CIO

But about six years ago, Steve retired from bowling.

When he and his wife, Megan, moved to Maine from Massachusetts, he decided to try something new. He thought cornhole sounded fun.

“He really enjoyed it because it was something different,” his wife told The Daily Moth, a news outlet reporting on the Deaf community in American Sign Language. “He had bowled for so many years that he got tired of it. He wanted something different. I told him to help himself. Enjoy things because life is short. He agreed that life is short.”

Steve, 45, was killed while playing in a cornhole tournament at Schemengee’s Bar and Grille on Oct. 25. He was one of four members of Maine’s Deaf community who died in the shooting.


A father of two, Steve was preparing to celebrate his first wedding anniversary next month. He and his wife had been together for 14 years and lived in South Paris.

“Now I’ve lost my soulmate, my husband. It really hurts,” Megan told The Daily Moth. “My husband was the best soul I ever had in my lifetime.”

Steve was an active member of New England Deaf Cornhole.

He had won several games and was eager to play more, the group said in a Facebook post, mentioning his huge smile and excitement for the game.

“He will be missed on and off the courts! NEDC will not be the same without Steve Vozzella playing with us!”

Members of the Greater Boston Deaf Bowling League hosted a vigil at Town Line Luxury Lanes, where Steve used to bowl when he lived in the area.


Michael DuRoss, vice president of the bowling league, said in a social media post that Steve’s death was a loss to the Deaf communities in Boston, Maine and all of New England.

“Steve, when (it’s) thundering here in Boston, please bowl with friends in heaven,” he wrote. “Show them (you’re) a better bowler and get us a 300 perfect game, brother.”

Megan Vozzella said Steve was very involved in the Deaf community.

“Many in the Deaf community knew him and knew us,” she said. “They watched our humor because we would do pranks and egg each other on.”

The Vozzellas were close friends with Elizabeth and Joshua Seal. Josh, a well-known interpreter, was also killed at Schemengee’s.

Liz Seal recalled many happy outings she and her husband had with the Vozzellas. They would go to Patriots games, ride snowmobiles or camp out.


They would even take cornhole boards with them on their camping trips, Liz said. While the sport could be pretty competitive, the Wednesday night game was about camaraderie.

“It was an excuse for the guys to hang out together, really,” Liz said. “They’d let off steam, take some time away from home and work just for themselves, with people like them. I’m sure they were having fun before everything went wrong.”

Now, the two women are grieving the hole left in their lives and the Deaf community.

“They took our lives away,” Steve’s wife said. “How much more do we have to suffer? How much more of this can we take? Why did it happen?”

Friends and a former coach said on Facebook that Steve was a “class act” and a former student athlete who enjoyed baseball and basketball. He worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 20 years.

Brian Renfroe, president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said in a statement that he was heartbroken to learn that Steve, a member of the Lewiston branch, had died.

“He had much more life to live before it was stolen from him in an all-too-common senseless act of gun violence,” Renfroe said.

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