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Wednesday, May 25, 2016
A smile that will live on forever
(Page 2 of 3)
Courtesy Stephanie Santo
Shawn Santo, who was known for his infectious smile and laugh, was also known as a great cook, a career he once considered.

Shawn loved to cook and always watched the Food Network, his sister recalled, and he especially enjoyed making Italian dishes. The two hoped to open up their own restaurant someday. For Thanksgiving, Shawn brought six pounds of mashed potatoes and sautéed mushrooms to her house. “He was an amazing cook,” she said. “He was the only one I would let cook with me in the kitchen.”

Stephanie said that her brother considered becoming a chef, but because of hip problems, he wasn’t sure he would be able to. After high school he attended Nassau Community College, worked a few odd jobs and was considering a career in the medical field.

He was also a talented writer, Stephanie said, and often wrote personal letters to people. When he was 14, he wrote a three-page letter to the television cooking show host Rachael Ray, asking to be on her show. That same year, he gave his mother’s eulogy. “He wrote from the heart,” Stephanie said. “He articulated his words very well.”

Her brother had a unique sense of humor, and was responsible, reliable and empathetic, she said. Starna added that Santo was obnoxious, but in a good way, and was always smiling. Menna recalled his laugh, and said he strove to make everyone else laugh. And Pompilio described him as polite and a good student who did things the right way.

“My stomach just shrunk, my heart just broke,” Pompilio said, describing his reaction when he learned of Santo’s death. “He had that much influence on people.”

“It’s sad to see the first death from our class occurred only two and a half years after graduation,” said George Seyffert, the 2010 class president. “No one can be ready for what life throws at us. We have to just take it in and live with it. Shawn will always be in our hearts and will always be a member in what I call the family of the class of 2010.

A wake last Thursday and Friday at Krauss Funeral Home in Franklin Square drew hundreds of friends and former teachers. Santo was buried in St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens.

At the wake, Stephanie said that a Central teacher came up to her and told her that when Shawn was in high school, he comforted the teacher after she lost her 5-day-old infant, even though Shawn wasn’t even one of her students.


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