Michael Louis Santangelo of Rye passed away on September 11, 2018. He was 88.
Born in New York City on July 29, 1930, he was the son of Marie (Del Greco) and Louis F.X. Santangelo.
He graduated from LaSalle Academy class of ’47, St. Bonaventure University class of ’51 with a B.S. degree, and St. John’s Law School class of ’59 earning his L.L.M. and J.D. He earned the distinction of graduating cum laude, and received the Civil Practice, Evidence, and Roman Law awards. He was also co-founder and president of the Henry de Bracton Chapter of the Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity.
He faithfully served his country in the United States Air Force from 1951 to 1955, earning the United Nations, Korean Service, and National Defense Service medals. For the successful completion of a serious and risky assignment, “Operation High Flight” in a single-engine jet fighter over Greenland and Iceland to Scotland and Paris, he was awarded a Certificate of Outstanding Accomplishment as a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
Mr. Santangelo was a lawyer in private practice in criminal law until his retirement in 2001. He was a member of the Columbus Citizens Foundation from 1984 to 2018 and served as president and chairman of the board. During his tenure, he established the Columbus Gold Star Education Fund for children of deceased military of the Gulf War; started the High School Scholarship Fund for Italian-American students; and initiated Italian Language Studies for members and non-members. For the first time, a “Salute to Italy Today” was held during the Annual Columbus Day weekend that highlighted the best of Italy in business, tourism, and culture of today and fostered the rich Italian heritage and culture of the past. As chair of the Law Committee, he was instrumental in creating the video, “The Italians and the Creation of America”.
Among the honors bestowed on him was the distinguished rank of Cavaliere in the Order of Merit of the Republic of Italy in 1993. He was very proud of his Italian heritage and was always in the forefront of honoring and fostering his Italian culture. He also enjoyed cooking, golf, classical and country music, and sports.
Mr. Santangelo is survived by his loving wife of 27 years, RoseMarie Gallina-Santangelo; his children, Louis, Dara, and Francis; his four grandchildren, Michael Damato, Robert Damato, Michael M. Santangelo, and Carley Santangelo; and his brother, George L. Santangelo.
A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated at Church of the Resurrection on September 17. Donations in Michael Santangelo’s name may be made to the Fisher House Foundation, www.fisherhouse.org.