POLAND, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – John Santillo, 91, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday morning, January 18, 2023.

Mr. Santillo was born April 9, 1931 in Youngstown, Ohio, a son of Cosmo and Louise DeRose Santillo. 

Raised in Youngstown, John was a graduate of East High School, Class of 1950. A member and Captain of the football team, John lettered varsity all four years in football, even as a freshman.  John was also a letterman in basketball and golf. He received a full scholarship in both football and basketball to Mississippi State University. In college, he lettered all four years in football and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education in 1954. 

A proud member of R.O.T.C., John served his country as First Lieutenant of the United States Army. He served stateside and was honorably discharged in 1956. 

He returned to the Youngstown area and began his career in education as a teacher for Western Reserve School in Ellsworth. In 1957, he taught and coached football at Lowellville Schools for seven years and led the Rockets to four straight undefeated seasons. In 1964, he was named Class A Ohio Football Coach of the Year. In 1965, he taught and coached football for Struthers City Schools. John was assistant coach to head coach, Bob Cummings and they led the Wildcats to two straight undefeated seasons. In 1969, John served as head coach to the Wildcats. 

John received his Master’s in Education from Westminster College and continued his post graduate work at Youngstown State University. After his career in coaching, he went into administration, serving as assistant principal for Struthers High School, principal for Struthers Junior High, and principal for Struthers High School. From 1985 until 1991, John served as superintendent of Struthers City Schools. He retired in 1991 after 35 years of service. 

John served as a member of the Youngstown Christian School Board of Education for many years, a member of the National School Board Association, National Association of Superintendents and Ohio Teacher’s Association.  John was a past member of Struthers Rotary and a member of Highway Tabernacle. 

John’s wife of 59 years, the former Angeline Pantana preceded him in death on May 10, 2020.

He leaves two daughters, Julie (Tim) Burkert of Boardman, Ohio and Jodi Santillo of Kent, Ohio; two sisters, Phyllis DiPiero of Port St. Lucie, Florida and Louise (Jack) Dyer of Liberty, Ohio and one sister-in-law, Genevieve (Ernest) Ramunno of Lowellville, Ohio.

In addition to his parents and wife, John was preceded in death by two sisters, Donna and Julie and seven brothers, Marty, Louis, Dom, Dominic, Joseph, Cosmo and Paul.

Friends will be received Monday, January 23 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. at the Cunningham-Becker Funeral Home, Poland. A funeral service will follow at 1:00 p.m. at the funeral home with Pastor Duane Bull officiating.

Interment will follow in the Holy Rosary Cemetery, Lowellville, Ohio.

John’s family would like to express their sincere gratitude for the residents and staff at Sunrise now known as Wickshire Senior Living in Poland. 

Memorial contributions in memory of John Santillo maybe made to Highway Tabernacle, 3000 S. Raccoon Road, Youngstown, OH 44515, www.highwaytab.church or to St. Jude Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105-3678,  www.stjude.org.

A television tribute will air Sunday, January 22 at the following approximate times: 8:58 a.m. on FOX and 9:58 p.m. on MyYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.