Friday, 23 September 2011 00:00Devoted husband, loving father and cherished friend, John O. Santelli passed away on Sept. 8, 2011 at the age of 83. He is survived by his wife Rita and his daughter Rita Joan. His kind memory will be remembered by all who crossed his path and called him friend.
Born on June 16, 1928 in Brooklyn, John graduated Boys High in Bedford Stuyvesant and then earned a bachelor of science at Long Island University and a masters in pharmacy at Columbia University. Commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army, John served in the Korean War and then continued military service in the US Army Reserve and the NYS Army National Guard. He achieved the rank of colonel and retired after 27 years of active duty and reserve duty as a brigadier general. Always a soldier, his assignments included commander of the famed 69th Infantry Battalion, aka the Fighting Irish.
As a businessman, John’s additional studies in finance and business management at NYU helped him start and own a commercial mortgage brokerage and consulting firm, Anchor Associates. Active in several businesses and professional organizations, John also devoted his social services as trustee of the Village of Manorhaven and in many other community groups. He was the Exalted Ruler in the Great Neck-Port Washington Elks Foundation.
Throughout his life, John was a passionate musician and jazz pianist. He studied music with the classical renowned professor Albert D’Auberge and performed in his own jazz band in New York City during the 1950s. He continued to perform jazz piano for years to come in many great area events, headlining most proudly at his own grand piano in his home every night after dinner, much to the pleasure of his family and friends.
John experienced an aortic aneurysm in March 1983 and survived three open heart surgeries and many more health challenges. His soldier spirit, conqueror perseverance and love for his family gave us so many wonderful years with such a beautiful person. To say that he will be missed and lovingly remembered does not begin to express the deep loss and emptiness in our hearts his passing leaves.
Funeral arrangements were handled by the Austin F. Knowles Funeral Home, Port Washington. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Sept. 14 at Our Lady of Fatima RC Church. Interment St. Charles Cemetery.