OBITUARY

Anthony J. Santoro

April 17, 1942September 9, 2019
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Anthony J. Santoro, 77, of Swansea, died Monday, Sept. 9, after a brief illness. He was the husband of Pauline (Plante) Santoro.

Born in Melrose, son of the late Samuel S. and Mary (Carbonaro) Santoro, he was a 1960 graduate of Somerset High School, and received a bachelor of arts from Boston College, and a juris doctor and master of laws in taxation from Georgetown University.

He began his career teaching at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary. He was a professor at Western New England College School of Law, dean at the University of Bridgeport School of Law and dean at Widener University School of Law.

He helped establish the first law school in Rhode Island, at Roger Williams University, and was appointed its founding dean in 1993. Just days before the law school’s official opening he was named the sixth president of RWU. During his seven years as president and then chancellor, he created what is now the Feinstein School of Arts, Humanities, and Education, and led the acquisition of the Metro Center in Providence, now University College.

In 2000, he returned to the law school as a member of the faculty, teaching until his retirement in 2018. The law school granted him an honorary degree in 2016, for his “inspired and foundational contributions to the law school and to the cause of law and justice in the State of Rhode Island as a whole.” A group of his former students created the Professor Anthony J. Santoro Business Law Lecture, the school’s first entirely alumni-endowed lecture series, and in 2017, the law school dedicated a classroom in his name and he was named a professor emeritus.

Besides his wife, he is survived by his children, Lynne Sullivan and her husband, Greg, of Somerset; Anthony J. Santoro Jr. and his wife, Maura, of Bristol, R.I.; Lauren Gentile and her husband, Andrew, of Somerset; and Anne Erhard and her husband, Brian, of Canton; 10 grandchildren, Kathryn, Conor and Ian Sullivan; Sophia and Anna Santoro; Lily and Mia Gentile; and William, Teddy and Luke Erhard; a sister, Linda Reidy and her husband, Joseph, of Somerset; and several nieces and nephews.

His Funeral will be held on Monday, Sept. 16, at 9:00 a.m. from the Waring-Sullivan Home at Birchcrest, 189 Gardners Neck Rd., Swansea followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church, 530 Gardners Neck Rd., Swansea. Calling hours will be Sunday, Sept. 15, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Professor Anthony J. Santoro Business Law Lecture Endowment at https://give.evertrue.com/rwu/santoro. Entombment will take place in Notre Dame Cemetery, Fall River. For tributes or directions: www.waring-sullivan.com

Services

15 September

Visitation

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Waring-Sullivan Home at Birchcrest

189 Gardners Neck Road
Swansea, MA 02777

16 September

Funeral Mass

10:00 am

St Francis of Assisi Church

530 Gardners Neck Road
Swansea, MA 02777

16 September

Entombment

Notre Dame Cemetery

951 Stafford Road
Fall River, MA 02723

Memories

Anthony J. Santoro

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Jack Sbrega

September 14, 2019

Jo-Anne and I were saddened to learn this terrible news. Tony was an extraordinary individual, a great leader and a exemplary gentleman. He was exceptionally gracious to us when we arrived in the area. He will be sorely missed.

Jack Sbrega,
President Emeritus
Bristol Community College

PHILIP ROTHBART

September 12, 2019

The world has lost a gentle giant, and I have lost a friend of many years. Although our common path was disrupted when Tony moved to Roger Williams, and I moved to Florida (now in Georgia), I recalled so many times during the years the wonderful times we shared while Tony was Dean at Widener Law and I was a mere student (albeit in my early 50's). With a wonderful smile Tony asked me at my graduation if I would become an adjunct professor the next semester after graduation (teaching my former classmates, as I was a December grad). But that was Tony, always the fearless innovator! I revel in the many dinners Tony and his beloved Pauline shared with with my wife and me, and the peals of laughter that permeated those dinners. And I embrace you in your grief, dear Pauline.
So, no goodbye here Tony, but rather au revoir, for I fully expect you to be waiting for me on the other side, and we can share memories together. Phil

Lynne Sullivan

September 12, 2019

When 2019 started, my family knew it was going to be a big year. There were lots of milestone birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, First Communions.

We planned a trip to Montreal to celebrate Mom's birthday, but went in April, six months early, because we weren't sure Kathryn would be able to leave college for a trip in October.

Turns out it was a really good thing we went early. And it turns out this year was big in another way.

Dad suffered a major heart attack a week after we returned from Canada. There's no way he should have survived it, and the doctors made that clear about as gently as they could. But he was determined to get out of that hospital, even if it meant dialysis and an oxygen tank.

But he just kept getting better. We started to forget how sick he was, and expected him — as we always did — to be around forever.

Dad died 10 days after Kathryn moved to college. Higher ed was everything to him, and I think he was determined to see the first grandchild start college, certain the rest would follow.

Does his death wreck this banner year? No. I'm celebrating that Dad was able to go out on his terms. He had time to get his affairs in order, he was able to say goodbye to the people he loved, and his mind was sharp as ever. He even reminded the doctor at the ER on Monday that he had a DNR, proving that right up until the very end, Dad was in control.

It's not the year we envisioned, for sure, but that's how life is, isn't it? Full of joy, with a little sorrow mixed in — there's always something to celebrate in the sadness, if you look hard enough.

And 2019 is the year we prove that Dad prepared us well, and gave us the strength, to carry on without him.

Richard Bernardo

September 12, 2019

It was my fortune to have Tony Santoro as a classmate; in our yearbook , he was "most likely to succeed". He will remain our most accomplished graduate. I am proud to have known him.
Richard Bernardo
president, SHS class of 1960.

Steve Pappas

September 11, 2019

Tony was a good friend and colleague. He did so much for RWU...he took a decent school and built it up to the great school it is today. He was always going a mile a minute....I can remember being slightly alarmed while driving with him as he was talking to me about one thing but I could tell he had 5 or 6 other things on his mind that he was working on at the same time and that did not include driving. He was brilliant and got things done the old school way. He recognized good people and wanted to keep them at the school to work and improve the RWU community. He was loyal to you all the time. And of course, if asked if he wanted to go for lunch he'd suggest The Lobster Pot. A great man! My condolences to the Santoro family.

Steve Pappas

Nan Balliot

September 11, 2019

Early on in my career as a librarian at the RWU School of Law (pre-internet), a co-worker (asking for a friend) asked several of us when an employer had to make the contributions to an employer/employee retirement plan. I went to ask Professor Santoro thinking that this is a tax question. His initial response, "Is she in trouble? " From his tone of voice and facial expression, I could tell he was genuinely concerned. There and then I made up my mind that if I got a letter from the IRS, I knew I could talk about it with Professor Santoro. He requested that I inform him of my research results.
I can attest from many comments by the students that he was beloved and respected.
My condolences to all who mourn his passing.

Gene McGurk

September 11, 2019

Pauline, I was saddened to hear of Tony's passing. We had such great memories together when he was the Dean of Delaware Law. He was a wonderful Dean, a good friend and a great person. He will be missed by many. My sympathies to you and your family. Love you Gene

Virginia Kelsh

September 10, 2019

Tony hired me to become the law librarian at the University of Bridgeport in 1977. As a native Oregonian, I was warmly welcomed to the East Coast by Tony and Pauline. One of the best memories I have was the night Associate Dean Bahr and his wife, Anita, along with library staff and students were painting the law library. Security came by and would not believe we were administrative staff and wanted to kick us out. Since Tony lived nearby, we appealed to him and he told campus security he would handle it. He ordered pizza and beer and came over to join us! Those were fun times when we were all young and full of energy!

Donna DiRe

September 10, 2019

My Cousin...The lightship of our family. May you rest in peace knowing that you were an incredible , kind, loving and humorous man who will be so missed. Our angel got his wings.

David Logan

September 9, 2019

Tony was a visionary educator and a deeply kind man, a legendary teacher who helped mold thousands of young lawyers in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and for the last 25 years, Rhode Island.
RIP my friend.

FROM THE FAMILY
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