Priest found bound in Shelter Island remembered for life of service

Posted: Updated:
EAST SETAUKET -

A final farewell was held in East Setauket Tuesday for a priest who died after being attacked during a home invasion on Shelter Island.

The Rev. Paul Wancura, 87, led Caroline Church in East Setauket for 26 years. On Tuesday he was buried there – remembered as a great spiritual leader, a mentor and a friend.

“He was conversant on almost every subject. He was extremely bright and witty and he socialized with his parishioners,” said Michael Russell, a longtime parishioner.

Mourners talked about the remarkable life of Paul Wancura – a graduate of Columbia, a member of the military and someone who exercised his entire life.

Also on their minds was the horrific ending to his life. Police say he was beaten in his Shelter Island home on March 19 by an intruder, was tied up and left there for days.

He was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, but died last week from a blood infection.

Suffolk police say they believe the Wancura was "targeted" by the man who broke into his home. No arrests have been made so far.

A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest. Police are asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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