Patricia Mary Coakley Santovasi, our beautiful sunshine, of the Marion part of Southington, closed her tired blue Irish eyes and joined the ranks of heaven’s angels in the early evening of August 25, 2022 shortly after arrival at the VITAS Inpatient Hospice Unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury, CT. She was in the loving company of her husband Joseph, son Matthew, and daughter-in-law Marietta. Patti succumbed to complications of the kidney cancer she courageously faced with grace, determination, composure, positivity, dignity, and strength for nearly three years. She was born on August 20, 1956 at St. Mary’s Hospital to Francis and Mary (Shugrue) Coakley. She selflessly welcomed her mother Mary into her home and for nearly nine years provided loving care as Mary’s Lewy body dementia worsened until she passed in 2013.
Patti leaves behind, to honor her life and memory, her loving family and friends – her husband and best friend Joe to whom she was married for nearly 30 years and began dating in high school; her son Matt of whom she was most proud and his wife Marietta who she loved like a daughter; her sister and maid of honor Eileen Plasky, brother-in-law Ronald, and her nieces Jennifer and Elizabeth; godmother Irene Corrigan and family; Aunt Vivian Shugrue and family; sister- and brother-in-law Rose and Gary LaPorta, and her nephew Joseph and his wife Lauren and their children; brother- and sister-in-law Anthony and Kristine Santovasi and her nephew Nicholas; Marietta’s brother Alex and mother Jane Gentile and Jane’s fiancée Bob May; Donna and Al Castonguay; Sean and Theresa Muckle; Jeannette and Joann LaRose and Kyle Dube; cousin Robert Longo; cousin Nicholas Salerno; the extended Santovasi, Coakley, Shugrue, Gumpper, Muckle, and Kiesel families; Joe’s long-time business partner and brother in arms Tim Wasielewski and family; childhood/high school friends Anne Reilly and Sharon Kovzelove; longtime Southington friends the Bunko, Goralski, and Voelker families; special friend Judith Barr; countless friends and relatives on Facebook; and her therapy/comfort kitties Allie and Coco.
Patti was predeceased by several family members and friends including her dearly beloved parents, five year-old brother Michael, and father- and mother-in-law Tony and Evelyn Santovasi.
Patti attended the former Sacred Heart Grammar School and High School in Waterbury, UCONN Waterbury, UCONN Storrs, and St. Mary’s Hospital School of Nursing. She was a dedicated medical receptionist and secretary for several Waterbury doctors/surgeons including the office of the late Dr. Joseph Reynolds and late Dr. Jose Villaluz from which she retired upon Matt’s birth to become a full-time mom.
Patti’s family and extended family was above all the most important thing to her. She felt truly blessed to be a mother and enjoyed every minute of it as it was her calling in life. She also greatly enjoyed her nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews, and other immediate family and extended family.
Patti was regarded wherever she went as a good soul, always having a smile and friendly, upbeat, endearing personality. She was a private but cheerful, easy going, very likable, and all-accepting people person. She brightened up everyone she met, whether it be at family gatherings, school or sports functions, a local business, or at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where she received treatments and care. She had a kind word for everyone and a natural ability to easily and quickly befriend almost anyone. Her to-the-point approach never left you guessing what she was thinking or left a question unasked.
She happily volunteered frequently at St. Thomas School and Southington South Little League, chauffeured Matt’s St. Thomas baseball teammates to games in the Patti Wagon, and was a team mom for Matt’s LL and St. Thomas baseball teams. More recently, she looked forward to reliving, through pictures and videos, Matt and Marietta’s various hiking and backpacking trips to national parks and natural wonders throughout the country. She greatly enjoyed Matt and Marietta’s less than traditional wedding and corn hole tournament. She was always deeply interested in Matt’s academic, baseball, athletic, and professional pursuits and accomplishments as well as her nieces’ academic and music events, and her nephews’ academic events, athletic events, and theatrical productions. She followed Marietta’s nursing education and career closely and always loved hearing her happy, sad, and sometimes outrageous stories from the hospital and her patients. She also enjoyed getting to know Matt’s childhood friends and befriending them herself, especially his best man Kyle Dube, Eddie Leahy, and Eric Zukauskas just to name a few.
On holidays, Patti loved decorating her home especially for Halloween and Christmas. At family gatherings, she often wore occasion-themed, and sometimes quirky attire including hats, necklaces, earrings, sweaters, and more, some of which lit up or played music. Though she enjoyed relaxing at her home, one of her favorite experiences was her Hawaii family trip in early 2020 with Joe, Matt, and Marietta. She loved watching General Hospital, the Food Network, Villanova basketball, the Little League World Series, the Yankees, and many other TV shows. She also loved movies, especially classics like the Wizard of Oz and It's a Wonderful Life. Some of her favorite music included the Beatles, Tony Orlando, and (usually) whatever Matt and Marietta’s rock band was playing in the basement. She loved the beach, especially Hammonasset. She also enjoyed picnics, outdoor casual dining for seafood especially at Lenny & Joe’s, cookouts, daisies, kitties, thunderstorms, rainbows, the night sky, fireworks, carousels, the color blue, and yellow ribbons.
She was an excellent cook whether it was Irish fare like corned beef (flat cut and to be sliced against the grain!), the Italian recipes she learned while growing up with Italian friends in Waterbury, or her famous cheeseburgers, egg sandwiches, pepperoni squares, chocolate birthday cakes, fruit cake, or salads. No matter the time of day, Patti’s kitchen diner was always open.
Patti’s family extends their sincere gratitude to the wonderful medical professionals and staff at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center who cared for her over the past three years or so and at St. Mary’s Hospital who took over her care for her last days with us. Very special thanks to Dr. Martin Voss, Kathleen Meade, RN BSN OCN, and their colleagues, associates, and staff at MSKCC. Thank you also to Dr. Philip Mongelluzzo, Patti’s long time medical provider in Waterbury.
In lieu of flowers, to honor Patti, please do an act of kindness or donate to a charity of one's choice.
A memorial service will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 1, 2022 at the Plantsville Funeral Home, 975 South Main Street, Plantsville. Calling hours will be held before the service from 4-6:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Burial will be private and at the convenience of the family.
A Celebration of Life to honor Patti will be held Sunday, September 11, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Mountain Room, 412 Mt. Vernon Road, Plantsville. Casual dress please. https://celebratepatti.rsvpify.com/