John Marion Santamaria, affectionately known as Johnny, of Cottonport, LA, beloved husband, father, uncle, cousin, and brother passed away peacefully early on the morning of January 3, 2023 following a prolonged battle with heart disease. John was born on July 6, 1950, the fifth son and nineth child of Aline and Foley Santamaria in Houston, TX. He graduated from Lamar High School in Houston where he was a contributing member of the swim team. He was also a collegiate swimmer at The University of Texas at Austin where he graduated. Throughout his life, he remained a loyal Longhorn fan, susceptible to much friendly derision from colleagues who were avid supporters of local Louisiana sports teams. He turned his lifelong passion for automobiles, especially exotic and classic cars into a successful career, retiring just recently after 21 years with Hub City Ford in Lafayette, LA. His lifelong admiration of Italian automobiles and all things Italian was rooted in the Santamaria family Italian heritage and always a part of his everyday world.
It was for the love of his life, Josette Marie Smith Santamaria, to whom he was married for 42 years that he spent most of his adult life in Louisiana where he made a multitude of friends and lived life to the fullest. He is survived by Josette and their beautiful daughter, Sheila of New Orleans. Additional survivors include his brothers Philip and wife Carolyn of Houston, TX, Vincent and wife Susie of Ft. Meyer, FL, Richard and wife Susan of Dripping Springs, TX, and George and wife Wendy Sue of Valley Center, CA, his sisters Dr. Phyllis SantaMaria of London, England, Mary Santamaria of Houston, TX, Jane and husband Jerry A. Gnazzo of North Hampton, NH, and Lillian Santamaria and spouse Patrice Horstman of Flagstaff, AZ, along with sisters-in-law Pamela Lemoine of Cottonport, LA. and Carla and husband Newell Gauthier of Cottonport. LA, as well as many cousins, nieces, and nephews. He is preceded in death by his eldest brother Joseph of Houston, TX who passed away in June 2022 and survived by Joseph’s wife, Nancy.
A Rosary at 10:30 am and a Funeral Mass at 11:00 am will be held on January 12, 2023 at St. Mary’s Assumption Church of Cottonport. A gathering of friends and relatives will be held at the Escude Funeral Home of Cottonport that morning beginning at 8:00am. A celebration of John’s life will follow in Houston, TX at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials in John’s honor be sent to charities of the donor’s choice. The family would like to pay special tribute to the doctors and nurses of Ochsner Lafayette General Medical Center, along with loving tribute to niece, Lauren Lemoine, who assisted while John was in the hospital.