There is a popular myth that some people are either right-brained or left-brained, possessed either by a creative, artsy side or an analytical side.
Then there was Vince Scully, the tax attorney and business owner who wrote poems and plays in his spare time. Mr. Scully died Tuesday at age 86.
He made a name for himself as a tax attorney in the 1950s, when he represented Erie-based Sanitary Farms Dairy in a case against the Internal Revenue Service, helping the business claim the cost of a big-game hunting trip as a business-related advertising expense. That case was used to help develop Internal Revenue Code Section 162, which outlines business expenses.
“He was honest to a fault,” said Kathy, his wife of 44 years. “He wanted to give the government what they deserved and no more.”
He, with his son Erik V. Scully, formed Scully & Scully, LLP, in 1985, a boutique law firm with headquarters Downtown.
Mr. Scully was born in Garfield and attended Central Catholic High School, where after graduation he dedicated most of his philanthropic efforts.
“Central always was a significant influence in his life,” his son Erik said.
He briefly attended Fordham University and played baseball alongside another Mr. Scully, legendary Dodgers broadcaster Vin. He later transferred to the University of Notre Dame, where he earned a bachelor’s of science in commerce and a law degree.
He practiced law for a variety of firms before opening an office with his son.
“He was a father, he was a friend, and he was a mentor,” Erik Scully said. “Establishing Scully & Scully and working together with him on a daily basis was probably the most significant thing in my life. Not many people get to do that.”
In addition to his work as an attorney, Mr. Scully was a businessman who acquired and sold a number of businesses, including Insurance Office of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Casing Co., Castle Stone Land Co. and Four Rivers Software Systems.
“Business seemed to come easy to him,” Erik Scully said. “Throughout his career, he had a knack of turning around businesses and making them profitable enterprises.”
A batboy for the Pirates in his youth, Mr. Scully carried his sporting endeavors into adulthood, where he was an accomplished bowler and, at one time, the only member of the Pittsburgh Athletic Association with a certified 300 game.
But he also was fond of literature. His favorite poem was the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and his daughter Joni said he would discipline her by requiring her to memorize poems instead of more traditional methods of punishment.
Turns out, it didn’t work as a great deterrent.
“I loved it,” Joni Scully said. “I would deliberately do things naughty just to get in trouble.”
Mr. Scully is survived by his wife, four children and nine grandchildren. Visitation is today from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. at John A. Freyvogel Sons, Inc., at 4900 Centre Ave. in Shadyside. The family asks for donations to the Central Catholic High School Scholarship Fund.
Michael Sanserino: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1969.