Charles J Santarsiero, 82, of West Mountain, Scranton, died peacefully Saturday morning. His devoted wife of 58 years is Mary Patricia "Cookie" Dolphin Santarsiero.
A lifelong resident of the area, Charlie was born in South Side, Scranton, in 1937, eldest son and third of ten children to the late Joseph Santarsiero and his wife, Margaret Cleary Santarsiero. He attended St. Mary's grade school and Scranton Technical High School.
Because of his affinity for British sports cars and motorcycles in his youth, he was known to many as Charlie Triumph. It was only natural then that he named his first business Triumph Body Shop, which he founded in 1960, retired from in 2001, and which is still operated today by his grandson, Michael.
He was a dedicated, tireless worker and a smart businessman; a true entrepreneur who built several businesses and helped modernize and clean up a run down section of North Scranton by converting an eye-sore scrap yard into a retail and office plaza, an historic landmark building in disrepair into a body shop, and a defunct gas station into retail space, as well as building and renovating homes and apartments around the area.
More than anything, he loved providing for his family those things he could never even hope for as a child. He enjoyed spending time with his children, grandchildren, and extended family, as often as possible, boating, motorcycling, camping, traveling and sharing the fruits of his labors and his good fortune with those he cared for. And because he never forgot where he came from, he was a generous man. For the last 20 years, he sponsored 15 children each year through Catholic Near East Welfare Association, and during the holiday season, he would fill large lawn bags full of new clothes, jackets, and shoes, anonymously dropping them off to needy families and churches in less affluent neighborhoods.
He enjoyed fishing and car shows. He reveled in working on old cars and motorcycles and anything that "couldn’t be fixed." But he loved flying most of all. He purchased his own airplanes and was most proud of the fact that he was an instrument rated pilot, passing the difficult certification test on the first attempt.
He was a man of faith, firmly believing in the power and mercy of God, and he revered the Blessed Mother, reciting the rosary, on his knees, at least twice daily.
He was preceded in death by his brothers, Joe, Jack, Billy, and Lenny, and his sister Ann Stack.
He is survived by his brother, Danny, and his wife Suzanne; his sister, Alice, and her husband Bob Thiel; his sister Mary Ann and her husband Jim Dolphin; his sister Margaret (Shirley); as well as his wife, Cookie; his children, Mike and Maria; his grandchildren, Brian, Candi, Michael, Jiovanni, and Killi; his great grandchildren, Molly, Charlie, Keller, and Holden; and dozens of nieces and nephews and their children.
The Santarsiero family would very much like to thank Dr. William Dempsey of the Wright Center for his dedicated efforts to keep our cantankerous patriarch, Charlie, as active and healthy as possible these last few years, and we thank the entire family of the late Attorney Billy Dempsey for almost single-handedly keeping Triumph Body Shop busy and profitable for the last 50 years or so.
Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday at 10AM in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel, 1605 Oram Street in Scranton. Family and friends may pay their respects this Saturday at the church from 9AM until the time of mass.
To send flowers to Charles' family, please visit our floral section.