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Nick Santoro, 1942-2018
Husband, Father, Author
July 2, 2018

O
n June 29, 2018, with loving family by his side, Nicholas John “Nick” Santoro succumbed to cancer after a valiant three-year effort to overcome it.

Nick was born in Manhattan, NY on February 15, 1942 to Annarosa and Nicholas Paul Santoro. Shortly thereafter his family moved to Tenafly, NJ where he was raised. Nick graduated from American University in 1965 with a degree in eastern religion and philosophy.

nick santoro
Nick Santoro, at the helm on Greenwood Lake in northern NJ, circa 1978. The boat was a black wooden Lightning named Raven. Jeanette Santoro hand painted the shirts for captain and crew…the raven logo was taken from the cover of an anthology of poems by Edgar Allen Poe.

After applying his interests in psychology and economics to a short career as a stockbroker during the flagging market of the early 1970s, Nick felt compelled to find a more secure way to support his wife and daughter (one word: plastics). Rather than reside in the city where his job was located, Nick and Jeannette chose to live where they could sail, garden, and otherwise enjoy the outdoors while raising their only child. For twenty years they lived in a log cabin in the woods of northern New Jersey on Greenwood Lake – near the last stop on the New Jersey Transit Bus line. Nick’s commute was grueling, an hour and a half ride that could take more than twice that in the snow or traffic. In 1982 he survived a PATH train fire under the Hudson River that would change his fate. The Tuesday March 16 headline in the NY Post read. “HUNDREDS FELLED BY PATH BLAZE”. The harrowing experience strengthened his resolve to find an alternative path forward.

nick santoro
Nick Santoro at the helm of Snowbird, in local waters.

With a vision of making a living based on their love of sailing, Nick and Jeannette traded their home in the northeast for a plot of land on the “inner banks” of coastal North Carolina. Over the course of several years they built their dream of owning and running a small sailboat marina in Whortonsville, a rural community (sometimes referred to as more of a state of mind than a fixed geographical location) near the Intracoastal Waterway and the town of Oriental known as “The Sailing Capital of NC”.

 WYTC Bookreviews
Nick Santoro at his marina, Ensign Harbor.

Nick & Jeanette
Nick & Jeanette
Shortly after moving to Whortonsville, Nick and Jeannette established the Whortonsville Yacht and Tractor Club – a loose organization designed to accommodate everyone regardless of yacht or tractor ownership.

From 1990 until 2009 the Santoros hosted the locally renowned WYTC Summer Solstice Sailebration, an annual pursuit race employing an elaborately-crafted handicapping system to ensure that boats of any class or size would have the same odds of winning. Prizes included the perpetual Whortonsville Cup (a coffee cup-shaped cookie jar filled with homemade cookies) and loaves of Miss Reba’s freshly baked bread. The last-place boat was awarded an overgrown zucchini. Fun was had by all.

In 2016 Nick published a book named for the Whortonsville Yacht and Tractor Club containing a slightly fictionalized account of his transformation from harried New York City commuter to proprietor of Ensign Harbor and the commodore of the WYTC. Copies are available at the Inland Waterway Provision Company in Oriental, with all proceeds going to benefit local causes.

 WYTC Bookreviews
The book: Whortonsville Yacht and Tractor Club.

Not many have the good fortune to realize their dreams. Nick, in partnership with his beloved wife of nearly 50 years (Sadly Jeannette was taken by the same disease in September of 2017), most certainly did. He often remarked that he and Jeannette had found a small slice of heaven on earth in Whortonsville and on the Pamlico Sound.

Nick served on the Pamlico County Planning Board for 23 years. He enjoyed playing tennis with a local group of friends. He will be remembered for his gregarious nature, his wit, his love of music, and his generous spirit. He will be missed by the many friends and family who knew and loved him, most of all by his daughter who rarely beat him at chess but who occasionally beat him in Sunfish match racing.

Nick is survived by his beloved daughter Alyce Santoro and husband Julian Mock; sister Mary Pitts and brother-in-law Dr. Lawrence Pitts; niece Jennifer Pitts and husband Sankar Muthu and their children Lucia and Nicholas; nephew John Pitts; brother-in-law Ralph Larsen and sister-in-law Josephine Larsen; nephew Myles Larsen and wife Heather and their children Grant and Masten; nephew Paul Larsen; niece Caroline Larsen Simpson and her husband Jesse and their children Alyssa, Owen, Juliana, and Theadora; and many much-loved friends and neighbors.

A celebration of Nick’s life will take place at Ensign Harbor in Whortonsville from 3 to 5pm on Sunday July 8. Light refreshments will be served.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Nick’s name to Heartworks (heartworksnc.org), a nonprofit agency that provides guidance and services to local families and children in need.

Nick’s obituary/life story submitted by Alyce Santoro


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Posted Monday July 2, 2018 by Keith N. Smith


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