Carol Kraemer Santoro, 78, of Yorktown, Virginia, died peacefully at home with her family on May 23, 2021. She was born June 1, 1942, in White Plains, New York, to Mr. and Mrs. Frederick J. Kraemer. She spent her childhood in Westchester County, New York, and at the Westchester Country Club, one of whose founders was her grandfather, and where she was “Miss Sky High.” Carol went to the Rye Country Day School. She was a National Merit Scholar and a Sarah Williston Scholar at Mount Holyoke College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history Cum Laude from Briarcliff College in Briarcliff Manor, New York. Carol later attended the Katherine Gibbs School in New York City and worked for the J. M. Mathes Advertising Agency and Ketchum, MacLeod and Grove Advertising Agency, also in Manhattan. She was named Miss ANNY in the Advertising News of New York newspaper. She also worked as Executive Assistant to the President of ITT Continental Baking Company in Harrison, New York. Carol married Anthony R. Santoro on June 18, 1966, and the couple spent 55 years together as her husband undertook positions at Briarcliff College and Ladycliff College in New York State, St. Joseph’s College in Maine, and Christopher Newport College in Newport News, where she assisted her husband in the transformation of that institution into a University. As a vital partner to her husband, she was an integral part of his academic career and became a champion for Christopher Newport following Dr. Santoro’s appointment to its presidency. As First Lady, she helped to oversee its historic transition to university status in 1992 and the opening of its first residence hall in 1995, which was named in her and her husband’s honor, The Carol K. and Anthony R. Santoro Residence Hall. In many ways, she helped to lay the groundwork for the modern Christopher Newport University that today enjoys a national reputation. While serving as the first “First Lady” of CNU she was Chairman of the Speakers Bureau for the Virginia Peninsula Council on Domestic Violence; a volunteer at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center; a regular speaker at the annual meetings of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities; and a Board Member of the National Council of Christians and Jews. She was a Board Member of the Virginia Peninsula Camp Fund. Carol was also a devoted patriot and believed it to be her duty to serve as a volunteer in Congressional and State General Assembly election campaigns in Virginia. She was a descendant on her father’s side of U.S. Army Major General William B. Hazen, who saw distinguished service during the Civil War in defense of the Union. She was a Master Bridge player and was welcomed into the Bridge Club on the French Caribbean island of St. Martin as “the American who could play wonderful hands while counting cards and conversing fluently in French.” She was an avid reader who could consume two books in a week’s time, and her favorite television program was “Monk,” which she and her husband watched on a regular basis.
Mrs. Santoro is survived by her loving husband of 55 years, Anthony R. Santoro, Ph.D., President Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of History at Christopher Newport University; her loving daughter Melissa Santoro Estabrook (Matt) of Alexandria, Virginia; grandsons John Anthony “Jack” and William Reed “Will” Estabrook; her sister Marlane Kraemer Wurzbach (Allen) of Sarasota, Florida; nieces Amanda Paige Wurzbach (Matt Gordon) of Chicago, and Hilary Wurzbach Valenstein (Jason) of Falls Church, Virginia; great-niece Maggie Valenstein; great-nephew Henry Valenstein; and her brother-in-law William D. Santoro, M.D., of Montecito, California, with whom she enjoyed discussing national and international politics. She was preceded in death by her parents Frederick J. Kraemer and Helen Burton Kraemer of White Plains, New York, and Sarasota, Florida.
Memorial visitations will take place at the Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Boulevard, Newport News, Virginia, on Friday, June 11 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and again on Saturday, June 12 from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. A private family burial will take place on Sunday, June 13.
In lieu of flowers and other kindnesses, the family requests that donations be made in Carol’s name to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, National Processing Center, P.O. Box 1245, Albert Lea, Minnesota 56007.
Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home.