William Santoro


William (Bill) Santoro, Esq., died Jan. 28, 2018. He was born in Brooklyn, NY, on Oct. 30, 1930. He served his country in the Air Force from 1951 until 1954, being honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant, despite being color blind, a condition that normally results in an exclusion from enlisting.

Upon his Air Force discharge, he returned to college. Fearing his first son would graduate before him, he graduated from St. John’s University in 1955 and St. John’s University Law School in June 1958.

Bill went on to become a criminal defense attorney in New York City, practicing out of offices in Manhasset and Queens. He and his partners, Herbert Lyon and Bill Erlbaum, were involved in many high profile cases until his retirement at age 70. His resume included work on the Kitty Genovese-Barbara Kralik murders, the Alice Crimmins murder case and many Colombo crime family cases involving John “Sonny” Franzese. He believed that every person deserved a defense and told us to always keep an open mind, just not so open that your brains fall out.

In 1963, he served on the Committee on Legal Aid, rendering free legal services to the indigent population in Queens, New York.

In 1968, he was honored with being sworn in as an attorney of the United States Supreme Court, giving him the ability to argue in front of the highest court.

In 1970, Bill was awarded the honor of Grand Knight in the Knights of Columbus. He was instrumental in founding the Italian-American Civil Rights League.

Bill enjoyed spending time with his large, mostly Italian, family, especially at the lake house in upstate New York where he enjoyed being perched on the porch with a glass of Coca Cola in his hand, overseeing all activities on his estate.

He was married and survived by his loving and dedicated wife of 63 years, Theresa. With all the amazing desserts and dishes she could make, Bill’s favorite was her simple lemon meringue pie.

He is also survived by his five children: Albert J. Santoro (Cecily), Geraldine S. Prentice (Richard), William Santoro, MD (Jill), James C. Santoro (Lynn) and Theresa Colella (Christopher). Bill is survived by 16 grandchildren: John (Stephanie), Christine, Eileen, Andrew, Madeline, Caitlin (Charles), Casey, Brian, Alexandra, W. Justin, Robert (Amelia), Christopher, Kelby, Kyle, Stephanie and Christie. He is also survived by five great-grandchildren: Grace, Landon, Hudson, Lincoln and Parker.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be held Monday, Feb. 12, at 10 a.m. in St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Manhasset.

We should all remember his lessons of justice, including how to cut a pie equally among siblings, “the one who cuts the pie chooses his piece last.”

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, curealz.org; the Fisher Center of Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, alzinfo.org; or the Alzheimer’s Association, www.alz.org.

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