Gloucester — Anthony Santos Rao, 87, of Gloucester, passed away on Sunday, November 18, 2012. Tony was the loving husband of Phyllis (Destino) Rao, married on October 9, 1949 and had just celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.
Born in the Village Buarcos of Figuergda da Foz, Portugal on July 31, 1925, son of the late Antonio Santos Rao and Sebastiana (Branco) Rao.
He entered the U.S. Army at the age of 18 and had served with the 94th Division, E Company of the 376th Infantry Regiment. Tony was a hero for our country and his bravery helped allow the U.S. remain a free country. He is mentioned for his heroism in several books on World War II. He was awarded for his bravery and sacrifices to our country the Good Conduct Ribbon, the European African Middle Eastern Theatre Ribbon with four Bronze Star, the Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart for injuries sustained. He recently was awarded the French Legion of Honor for exemplary military and civilian services rendered to our country. This is the highest honor awarded by France.
Tony had worked as a fisherman on the Mildred Silva and the Olivia Brown for a short while. After returning from the service, he settled here in Gloucester, married Phyllis and became a salesman. He started his own coffee business and worked as a courier before retiring.
He was a member of the Capt. Lester S. Wass, Post 3, Gloucester American Legion, the DAV, American Society of the French Legion of Honor and a member of the Gloucester Council on Aging.
As a young man, Tony enjoyed weight lifting at the YMCA with his friends and son. He loved music and dancing and he and Phyllis had won 1st Place in a dance completion in Florida while on vacation. He also enjoyed traveling. In the later part of his life, his favorite past time was listening to love songs at home with his wife Phyllis. He enjoyed sharing his war stories at the Fishermen’s Memorial while remembering and touching his father’s name on the cenotaph memorial.
In addition to his wife Phyllis, he is survived by his five children, Peggy Rao, John Rao, Marie Giambonco and husband Anthony, all of Gloucester, Jeannie Rao of Calif., Anthony S. Rao Jr. and his wife Susan of Plantation, Fla.; ten grandchildren, Christina and Rosalia Giambanco, Alexander Rao, Michael Bell-Rao, Nicholas, Rachal, Jamie and Sarah Rao, Jason and Keith Poole; one great-grandson he recently met, Quinn Rao; his late sister Rosa’s children, Rossi Beier, Ruy Cardoso and their families; brother-in-law, Frank Destino of Watertown, along with many other nieces, nephews, cousins and stretching from Gloucester to Portugal.
He was predeceased by his sister, Rosa Rao and in-laws, Margaret and John Destino, Alex Destino and Benny Sinagra.
ARRANGEMENTS: His funeral will be held from the Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington Street, Gloucester on Wednesday, November 21 at 9:45 a.m. followed by a funeral mass in St. Ann’s Church on Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. Family and friends are cordially invited to attend.
Visiting hours will be held on Tuesday (today) from 4 to 7 p.m.
Expressions of sympathy will be donated to struggling military veterans throughout New England.
For online condolences, please visit firstname.lastname@example.org.