Santora, Sr., Paul J.
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Paul J Santora Sr., Builder and Decorated World War II Combat Veteran, Paul "Maxie" Santora, Sr., 91, of Cos Cob, Connecticut passed away peacefully in the home he constructed with his own hands in 1958 this past Saturday, September 7, 2013. Born the son of Mary Lodato Santora and Joseph Santora on June 20, 1922 in Carbondale, West Virginia, the son of a coal miner. During a unionized strike he and his family moved to Cos Cob Connecticut where he attended Cos Cob Elementary School. A child of the depression he left school early in order to contribute to the family's ability to survive. He worked several jobs as a youth including employment with The Town Of Greenwich Recreation Board as a tennis court manager and Ice Rink Manager at Bruce Park. He spoke of his days during the depression with great humility and fondness for the camaraderie those hard time begat and for the closeness that developed with families and relatives helping each other. It was these times during which the cornerstone of his existence was born, the importance of family.
On December 15, 1942 he was inducted into the Army and served with distinction in the 100th Infantry division. He became one of the divisions few soldiers to attain the title of becoming a 100th Infantry Division Ranger; a forerunner to today's elite special forces. During his time in combat he was promoted to platoon sergeant, turned down a battlefield commission when all the officers in his company had been killed or wounded. He was awarded two Bronzes Stars, The French Croix de Guerre by Charles DeGualle, and the Silver Star, all for gallantry in the face of enemy fire. He declined receipt of a purple heart for minor wounds received in action for fear of worrying his family and out of respect for those who were seriously wounded or killed in action. At the very end of the war the last town captured by his division was Stuttgart, Germany. It was during the occupation thereof that he met the love of his life Ossi Guggenbuhl. Despite his removal of her and her family from their residence, a boundless love grew in the summer of 1945 and they were married in Germany on August 22, 1945. He was discharged from the service in February of 1946 and he and his bride came to the United States in that summer. After completing his carpentry and masonry trade apprenticeship he attended trade school, and went on to start Paul J Santora and Sons Masonry and Building Company in 1947.
He had an endless love for family, a passion for sports, gardening and gourmet food.
He worked hard to purchase enough land around him to insure that each of his children would have a house surrounding him. All of his accomplishments were shared by the love his life and partner Ossi. He always said together they were an unbeatable team.
In his Golden years he enjoyed the Mianus Boat Club and time with his dear friends with whom he formed the famous Tide Watchers Club. His great moment during each year since 1968 was arriving in Naples, Florida with Ossi at their winter home to spend time golfing and fishing with their many friends from around the world. He loved the pier and strolling on 5th and had a fondness for their many favorite restaurants where their favorite table was always ready.
Paul's generosity and kind heart were an inspiration to his family; He loved life with integrity and bravery.
He had great faith in the Catholic religion and served on many local parish committees and was both a founder and trustee of St Agnes Church, and member of St Ann's Church in Naples, Florida, a trustee the Saint Lawrence Italian American Society, a member of the Greenwich Rotary and the Greenwich Builders Association.
He was predeceased by his wife Ossi in 2003 and is survived by 5 children, His sons Joseph, Paul Jr. and David Santora, his daughters Donna Santora Anderson, and Deborah Pennella, a sister Rose Santora Siclari, several sons and daughters in law, as well as 12 grandchildren, 8 great grand children, many nieces and nephews and many cherished friends in Connecticut and Florida.
The wake will be held on Wednesday September 11th at Castiglione Funeral Home from 3 to 8pm and Funeral Services are on Thursday September 12th at St Agnes Church at 10am Entombment will follow at the mausoleum at St Mary's Cemetery. To leave an on-line condolence, please visit www.castiglionefh.com. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517 Topeka, KS 66675
Published in StamfordAdvocate from Sept. 10 to Sept. 11, 2013