US Navy

Joan W. (Cotter) Santoro

July 25, 1943 ~ February 24, 2023 (age 79) 79 Years Old

Joan Santoro Obituary

Joan (Cotter) Santoro, 79 of Norwell died February 24, surrounded by her loving family after a short illness. Beloved wife of the late Frederic Santoro, daughter of the late John and Sophie (Young) Cotter, sister of the late Susan and the late brother in law Ed Lukosius.


Joan graduated from Notre Dame Academy, Roxbury in 1961 and Boston College with a BSN in 1965. Joan rose to a sense of duty borne from her family’s tradition of military and medical service. She was a nurse like her mother, sister, aunts and cousins and she served her country during war times like her father. A woman unlike many of her time; Joan enlisted in the US Navy headed into her senior year of BC. She proudly served as a Lieutenant Junior Grade from 1965-1967 at Portsmouth, Virginia Naval Hospital. She often reminisced of her time in the navy; two of the most famous memories being her evenings at the officers club where her love for a good gin martini straight up with an olive was born and her ride overseas in the cockpit of a C-130 to deliver an admirals gear and take the opportunity to tour Europe with a friend.


Joan was always up for action and adventure which was what led her to a weekend skiing trip to North Conway where she met her husband Fred. The owner of the ski chalet used his blue eyes and charm to win her over while she was playing scrabble with her friends. They married in 1971 and enjoyed 49 wonderful years together. When Fred asked her to stay at home with their children she happily obliged and was the most wonderful mother, referee, baker, seamstress, driver, philosophy teacher, financial advisor and bargain shopper. She was to her children a mix of constant support along with a good dose of Catholic guilt; teaching her children to always do the right thing, help those in need, count their blessings and to see the glass half full. When Fred retired from the Quincy Fire Department, Joan used her experience and education to go back to work as a nurse manager and supervisor at various home care agencies on the south shore.


When their kids were out of college, Joan and Fred bought a retirement home in Englewood, Florida and enjoyed many years of winters away from the snow and cold. They had a club of sorts between neighborhood friends, locals and fellow snowbirds and enjoyed all the social and recreational events. Always ones to welcome visitors they enjoyed several couples, families and friends over the years to both their Englewood and Bartlett, NH homes; securing fond memories for all.


Joan leaves behind her children Fred Santoro Jr and his wife Kristen of Norwell, Terri Schaffer and her husband Gary of Norwell and her son Christopher of Weymouth. She also leaves behind her grandchildren Aimee, Nicole, Eric, and Lily and her nephew Stephen Lukosius of Angola, NY.


Joan’s family would like to thank the amazing private and kind-hearted caregivers who helped keep living at home during her dementia journey. lieu of flowers please find time to help someone in need.


Family and friends are respectuflly invited to visiting hours on Thursday, March 2, 2023 from 4-7 pm in McNamara-Sparrell Funeral Home, 30 Central Street (off Rt 123, near State Police Barracks), Norwell Center, MA. 02061. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, March 3, 2023 at 10 am in St. Mary of the Sacred Heart, 392 Hanover St., Hanover, MA. 02339. Interment Stetson Meadows Cemetery, Norwell. If you feel so kind as to donate please make a donation in Joan’s name to a place she held so dear in her heart - Notre Dame Academy, Hingham, MA- There is a spot to indicate the donation is in memory of Joan.

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March 2, 2023

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
McNamara-Sparrell Funeral Home
30 Central Street, P.O. Box 327
Norwell, MA 02061

Mass of Christian Burial
March 3, 2023

10:00 AM
St. Mary of the Sacred Heart, Hanover St, Hanover, MA


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