Gladys Morote-Santore, beloved wife of her late-husband Patrick Francis Santore, Sr. mother to Patrick F. Santore, Jr., James P. Santore, Jessica G. Looney, grandmother to Desiree Santore, Gabriela Looney, Nathan Looney, Kenzie Dickson, mother-in-law to Yasseth Fuentes-Santore, Shelley Beard-Santore, sister to Admiral Ramiro Morote and Fernando Morote, both of whom preceded her in death, cousin “sister” to Charito, Anita and Patricia Morante and friend, confidant and advocate for many, passed away suddenly on Thursday, February 9, 2023, leaving a tremendous void in all of our lives. Gladys joins her “darling” Patrick F. Santore, Sr. in heaven who passed away on March 9, 2022, as well as her mother, Elvira, her aunts Gaby, Mechita and Camuchita and all of the people and family that loved her and that preceded her in death.
Gladys had often said that after the passing of her late husband, Patrick F. Santore, Sr. she was ready for her own passing and that she looked forward to the day when she would once again be reunited with her “darling.” It is with that knowledge that we, her family, find some peace and solace now that she has moved on to a better place.
A quick story, written by James that we would like to share about our beloved mother, Gladys – a story of an attractive, somewhat entitled young woman from Peru, who decided to see what the United States was all about and went on holiday to Florida. One evening, she and her friends walk into a bar (I think it was the Fontainebleau) and see a group of army buddies enjoying a few pops. This gaggle of horny Peruvian girls yell out, “Gringos! Gringos!” and quickly take dibs on which man they want. My mom is smitten by a handsome, strapping young man, who instantly catches her fancy and takes her breath away...then she turns and sees my father. (Do they allow jokes in heaven, dad?) And like something out of a Kenny Chesney song, they hit it off and spend a few days together before she returns to Peru, and he goes back to his every day.
Months go by, but they never forget one another and continuously correspond with letters and pictures. Nudies may or may not have been involved, I don’t know. But yeah, you remember back when you had to actually write on a piece of paper, slip it into an envelope and take it to the post office? And this is the 60’s, so I assume a letter from Peru to the US and vice versa probably took, oh about 27.25 weeks to deliver? What can I say, the burros in Lima were particularly slow back then. Ok, fast forward a few months and another envelope is received from one Patrick Santore. The contents of this envelope contain 2 letters. One to my grandparents asking for Gladys’s hand in marriage and one to Gladys asking if she would give it. I’m here, so obviously the answer was yeah, sure, why not?
Patrick then goes to Peru and Gladys has the princess wedding of which every little girl dreams. But why stay in Peru where you have a maid bringing you breakfast every morning? Dad has landed a job at NASA, so they move to the Bahamas and live in a tiny mobile home, with no electricity and where they have to pump their own water. Trust me, NASA sounds cool, but did not pay a whole lot back then. I will say this, it was on the beach and way before the Bahamas was built up, so this actually doesn’t sound half bad to me. You know, I have always respected my mom so much for this. The love she must have felt for my dad to give up everything and blindly move to a foreign country without barely understanding the language or knowing a soul. A funny story my mom loved to tell – when they moved to the Bahamas, she was like WTF is this? My dad worked all day and my mom had never cooked a meal in her life. But she remembered that my dad always spoke about how much he loved his mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. What was the only thing my mom knew about spaghetti and meatballs? The sauce is red! Yes, I called it sauce, not gravy. Don’t start, this is my story, not yours. Well, what is the only thing we have that is red and tomato based? Eureka, ketchup! Clearly this is what goes on top of this crunchy pasta! And God bless my dad, he sat there and ate it. Now he may have said something along the lines of “this isn’t like my mom’s spaghetti”, which my mom never let him live down or forget. But the man ate it.
Anyway, I could spend all night writing and sharing stories of the two greatest people I have ever known. Like I’ve said a million times, they were far from perfect, but they were perfect to me, and I can only hope that in some way I made them proud. Mom, my heart is broken beyond words. I love you and I will miss you and all your stories. Especially trying to decipher which were real and which were, well, a Gladys story. Dad, she is all yours again. Please tell her to stop smoking. You two, please remember that heaven is supposed to be a peaceful place! Abueli (grandmom), remind them if they forget...
Gladys had one wish, which she reiterated time and time again to her children, that the family always remain united. We her children, Patrick, James and Jessica will honor her request to the best of our abilities.
Our mother left us with very detailed instructions as to what we should do upon her passing. The most important was that her ashes would be combined with those of her late husband, Patrick F. Santore, Sr. and that these ashes be taken to the Bahamas, the place where she always said she was happiest and that they be spread into the Bahamian Ocean. In honor of her final request, the family intends to honor this request and will transfer the ashes of Gladys and Patrick to the Bahamas as her final birthday gift in May of 2023.
Mom – you will forever be missed for your spunk, your joie de vie, your off-color comments, your opinions (God knows you had many and that you were not afraid to share them), for the love and support you showed us throughout the course of our lives and for shaping us into the people that we are today.
We love you, we miss you and we look forward to the day when our family will once again be truly reunited in Heaven.
Patrick, Jimmy and Jessica