DeMarino joined Marines, was World War II hero |
Obituary Stories

DeMarino joined Marines, was World War II hero

Joe Napsha
Sante J. “Sandy” DeMarinoof Greensburg died Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, in the Sunrise Personal Care Home, Upper St. Clair. He was 97.

Sante DeMarino joined his three brothers in serving with the Marines during World War II and was awarded the Silver Star for his heroism against the Japanese in a battle on the island of Saipan in June 1944.

He was severely wounded during the fighting, resulting in the loss of a finger and an eye, said his daughter, Patricia Whitford of Arizona. Later in life “he never complained” about it, Whitford said.

Despite his wounds, the corporal fought on and refused treatment as he led his group of Marines. Using just one hand, he fired his rifle and eliminated the enemy, which allowed his platoon to advance. For his heroism, DeMarino was awarded the Silver Star, the nation’s highest honor, as well as a Purple Heart.

“He was not one to talk about the war. That involved killing people,” Whitford said.

Sante J. “Sandy” DeMarino of Greensburg died Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, in the Sunrise Personal Care Home, Upper St. Clair. He was 97.

Mr. DeMarino was born Dec. 3, 1921, in Greensburg, a son of the late Vincent and Agatha Piccoli DeMarino, who were Italian immigrants.

While attending Greensburg High School, he was a star wrestler and is among the all-time top 11 wrestlers.

When he returned home from the war, he met his future wife, Anna Zavada, at a ballroom dance in Greensburg, Whitford said. The couple were married in 1946.

He was a traveling salesmen and later worked as a sales associate for Age Craft Manufacturing in Greensburg.

Whitford recalled her father was an avid walker who loved walking around Twin Lakes up until a few years ago. He also would exercise at the Greensburg YMCA, where he was a member for 80 years.

He was a member of Our Lady of Grace Church, where he volunteered for several years at the church food bank. He also was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 33 in Greensburg.

Mr. DeMarino loved to cook Italian dishes and when he cooked, he used garlic, Whitford said. She joked that he would say eating garlic was a key to his longevity.

He also liked a glass of wine and would invite visitors to his home to join him with a glass, Whitford said. To accompany his obituary, the family selected a picture of him holding a glass of red wine.

“He was a great mentor to everybody,” Whitford said.

He was preceded in death by his wife, whom he took care of for about 20 years, Whitford said.

Surviving are two daughters, Patricia Whitford (Tim) of Arizona, and Bonnie Van Ormer (Richard), of Norristown; his son, Dr. David DeMarino (Dr. Georgine), of Pittsburgh; six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Saturday in Our Lady of Grace Church, 1011 Mt. Pleasant Road, Hempfield.

Memorial donations may be made to or Arrangements were handled by the Pantalone Funeral Home Inc., Greensburg.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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