Obituary of Patricia Ann DeSantis
Patricia DeSantis, 77
Long-time West Orange Resident
Patricia Banker, (“Patsy” to her immediate family) died Friday, September 29 after a brief illness. She was 77.
Pat spent most of her life in West Orange, graduating in the first class from Mountain High where she met her husband, Russell DeSantis, the love of her life. Together they raised 5 children. She became an excellent cook and hostess, serving the Old World Italian recipes taught to her by her mother-in-law Domenica. The only thing she loved more than family gatherings were the weeks when she got to be at Chadwick Beach on the Jersey Shore.
Pat worked while raising the family, in the corporate world of Liberty Mutual and Bell Telephone, before joining the family business, Trees Inc., as office manager, working with her brother Harry, who had taken over the company from father Harry.
Once the kids were grown, Pat found what was probably her real calling, civic leadership. After volunteering for numerous causes, including her father’s favorite Arbor Day, she was appointed as Deputy Mayor of West Orange, a post she held for many years. Pat was a fixture at public events, from the St. Patrick’s Day parade to the July 4th fireworks and the meetings of most town boards and commissions. She also helped to develop the Adopt-A-Spot program in West Orange where businesses would beautify various locations around town.
Her civic activities led her to membership in the local Rotary Club, where she was ultimately elected president of the club, the first woman ever to hold that position. As president she was a whirlwind, boosting membership and increasing attendance throughout her tenure. Pat also was an appointed member of the State Board of Mortuary Science, served on the West Orange Township Zoning Board, was a spirited Girl Scout Leader, PTA President, and campaign manager for various West Orange political campaigns.
In later life Pat moved away from West Orange to the Jersey Shore. The beach was never more than a few minutes away.
Pat was a loving mother, grandmother, and sister who is survived by her children, Lori Ann DeSantis, Russell DeSantis, Anthony DeSantis, Patti DeSantis, and Phil Cicala. Her grandchildren Dante, Nicholas, Vincent, Julianna, AJ, Rocco, Lucy, and the late Shannon as well as her siblings, Harry Banker, Joan Trivane and Tom Banker, with many nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the (click on Arbor Day foundation )to have a tree planted in Pat’s memory.