Psychologist Aldo Santorum devoted career to fellow veterans
Aldo Santorum called the GI Bill the greatest gift he received. He gave back by building a career and family around veterans hospitals.
"We always lived on the campus of the veterans hospitals. It was called the domiciliary," said his son, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Penn Hills. "I always joked that I spent my childhood living in public housing."
Aldo Santorum of Crescent Beach, Fla., a clinical psychologist for the VA, died Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011, in the home where he and his wife, Catherine Dughi, lived the past 20 years. He was 88.
Mr. Santorum was born in the Trento province of Italy to Maria and Pietro Santorum. Aldo, his mother, older brother Bruno and younger sister Carla moved to the Johnstown area when he was 7 to join his father, who came to the United States five years earlier.
"My grandfather was working in the auto industry but lost his job during the Depression," Rick Santorum said. "He finally found a job in the coal mines of Western Pennsylvania in 1929 and the family joined him."
The family lived in a company town called Carpenters Park. "After several years in the mines, the family moved upscale to nearby Tyler Hill," Santorum said.
Mr. Santorum joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 after high school, serving most of World War II in the South Pacific where his main job was repairing airplanes.
After returning from the war, he earned a psychology degree from St. Francis College in Loretto, a graduate degree from Catholic University in Washington and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Ottawa.
"He then went to work for the Veterans Administration and that is where he met my mom," Rick Santorum said.
Catherine Dughi worked for the VA as an administrative nurse, and both were assigned to the VA hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va. After having three children -- Barbara, Rick and Dan -- the family moved to the Butler VA Hospital in the early 1960s, where they stayed for more than a decade.
They were transferred one more time, in 1974, to North Chicago. When Mr. Santorum retired in 1990, he and his wife moved to Crescent Beach.
"My father had a muscle disorder that was never fully diagnosed. When he retired he was already using a cane; in the last years he was in a wheelchair," Rick Santorum said.
"He was always the cook of the family. On Sundays we would always have pasta and sauce. When I was a kid, I didn't like his sauce -- it was too heavy -- but now I find myself making the same thing for my kids," he said. The favorite meal for the Santorum children was Dad's black bean soup.
"Dad was a talker. He was always on the phone telling me what I was doing right, but more often what I was doing wrong," Santorum said.
Both parents were active in Santorum's early congressional career, working phones and polls and moving temporarily to Mt. Lebanon in 1994 for his successful run for U.S. Senate.
In addition to his wife and children, Mr. Santorum is survived by 10 grandchildren. A memorial service will be held Saturday in Corpus Christi Church in Crescent Beach.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers OLB coach Porter teaches as passionately as he played
- 2014 showing has Steelers RB Harris confident he belongs
- St. Barnabas 5K provides various reasons to run
- Rossi: Nothing huge, but Huntington helped Bucs
- 2 killed in single-vehicle crash in Pittsburgh
- Snake bites on the rise in Western Pa.
- Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ
- Steelers training camp has California University link
- Armstrong inmate escapee charged with murdering family matriarch
- Pittsburgh police motorcycle officer seriously injured in crash
- Marte’s 2 fine defensive plays rescue Pirates in victory over Reds