SANTARPIA, Peter Francis Charles 1945-2020
“Well the danger on the rocks is surely past,
Still I remain tied to the mast.
Could it be that I have found my home at last?
Home at last!”
Peter passed away with peace and grace on August 16th with his cherished loved ones by his side. He was predeceased by his father, Corporal Frank J. Santarpia, United States Army, and his doting mother, Therese Boucher Santarpia. He is survived by his two daughters, Lisa and Kali, his loving companion, Judy Nelson, and loyal and caring family and friends.
Born in Florida but raised in Connecticut, Peter’s fondest childhood memories came from family. He developed a love of playing music by tinkering with his father’s percussion instruments. He grew up watching his father excel at woodworking contributing to the importance of “attention to detail” in Peter’s life. He found his love for food from his mother. Some favorites were Locatelli Pecorino cheese, loin lamb chops, lobster, the “white clam pie” from Frank Pepe Pizzeria, and ice cream sundaes (only at night). There was never such a thing as “too much garlic” for Peter. His mother showed him how to love with a kind heart and unconditional compassion. From his other family members, he learned the value of hard work and ingenuity. As a teenager, Peter worked in his grandfather’s glass bottling factory and left that job with a bit of a lifelong souvenir. The experiences he learned from as a teenager carried on in his future professional successes at Pratt and Whitney and later for the State of Connecticut as a Social Worker and Consultant.
Peter was sentimental by nature, and certain things stuck with him and carried importance through his life. He enjoyed Clint Eastwood movies---especially Dirty Harry--and would quote lines from them. He prized Steely Dan’s music, and some of his best memories came from seeing the band perform live. He loved fishing; some of his favorite locations were Bimini, Alaska, and Lake Saltonstall. He cherished animals, especially dogs---Sampson, Penny, Jack, and Gizmo. He used “Peter Phrases” which resonated with his loved ones: “I slept like a rock” after a good night’s sleep, “outrageous” to describe a good meal, and “BLAGGERT!” instead of saying a swear word. Important to Peter were having a particular order and detail with his possessions and keeping his surroundings neat and clean. He could work on his garden and lawn from sunrise to sundown, wax his car for two days, shine his shoes for an entire evening, and spend three hours cleaning the dishes after a meal while using four rolls of Bounty paper towels (the only brand he would use).
Peter meant so much to those who knew him. To his immediate family, he was a loving and caring father and son. To his longtime companion, Judy, he was a soulmate and best friend. To his Theta Sigma Chi brothers at the University of Connecticut, he was “Mouse.” To his closest friends, he was “Klausy.” To his fellow bandmates in the Good Company Band, he was a passionate and talented drummer who played with his tongue partially sticking out of his mouth. One of the most beautiful parts of Peter’s nature was offering a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on. His kindness and compassion were boundless and lives on in the hearts of the people he touched. He understood the power of forgiving and being forgiven and that everyone deserves a second chance. That will be his greatest legacy. He leaves us rich in memories.
In lieu of a formal service to celebrate his life, Peter asks that you embrace your loved ones extra tight the next time you see them.