Ernest A. Santoro

July 5, 1922 ~ January 18, 2024 (age 101) 101 Years Old
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Ernest Santoro Obituary

Ernest Anthony Santoro, passed away peacefully at his home on Henich Lane in Hillsdale on January 18. The son of Luigi Santoro and Mary (DeCarolis) Santoro, Ernest was born July 5, 1922 in Mamaroneck, New York. As a youth, his love of horses became his passion and he sometimes would skip school to follow the horse drawn milk wagon on its delivery rounds. He left home in his teens to work as a ranch hand in Arizona and Texas, perfecting his horsemanship.  He returned home where he took a job as a riding instructor and horse trainer at Kentucky Stables in Mamaroneck and there, met his future wife, Faye (Zarrilli) who predeceased him in 2001.

During WWII, “Ernie” served in the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division 12th Regiment, C Troop.  He saw combat across the Asian Archipelago, New Guinea, the Southern Philippines, including the deadly battle of Luzon, where he was seriously wounded in February of 1943.  He spent 6 months recuperating in hospital, was honorably discharged from service and awarded several medals of valor including the Purple Heart.    Upon returning to civilian life, Ernie studied architectural drawing at night school through the GI Bill and apprenticed for a local building contractor in Mamaroneck for four years before striking out on his own, establishing E.A Santoro Builders, Inc.  His successful career, building custom homes, spanned 30+ years in Westchester County then, relocating to Hillsdale in 1973 with his wife and son, he continued construction and consulting.   

Ernie is survived by: his four daughters, Barbara DeClemente, JoAnn Lieberman, Margaret Santoro and Jayne Santoro and sons-in-law, Frank DeClemente, Jeff Lieberman and John O’Brien.  His son Ernest predeceased him in 1984. He is also survived by six loving grandchildren, David DeClemente, Erika Lieberman, Emily (Lieberman) Taaffe, Timothy Viltz, Dana Viltz, Allissa Gayle Williams; nine great grandchildren; Logan Greenberg, Dylan, Evelyn, Collen and Rowan Taaffe, Harper Santoro-Williams, Simon and Ruby Viltz-Buroran, and Zazie Bonser- Viltz.  In addition, he leaves many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his siblings Michael, Larry, Carmella (Abbate), Margaret (Lucia), Thomas, Joseph, Ginger (Puglese) and Louis.

Ernie will be remembered for his many stories of his rodeo days, especially riding the Brahma bull, Big Cid in Madison Square Garden.  

 A time for sharing memories and offering condolences will be held on Tuesday, January 23, from 11am to 1 pm at Peck &  Peck Funeral Homes, 8063 Route 22, Copake. Interment will follow in St. Bridget’s Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ernie’s name to Lucky Orphans Horse Rescue, 2699 NT-22, #334 Dover Plains, NY 12522

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Calling Hours
January 23, 2024

11:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Peck and Peck Funeral Homes
8063 Route 22, P.O. Box 852
Copake, NY 12516

Prayer Service
January 23, 2024

1:00 PM
Peck and Peck Funeral Homes
8063 Route 22, P.O. Box 852
Copake, NY 12516


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