On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at the age of 70, Michael A. Santos, affectionately known as Papa, entered peacefully into Eternal Rest, surrounded by his loved ones.
Born in Newport, RI, on Sunday March 20, 1949, the first-born child of Antone R. Santos and the late Evelyn T. (Moniz) Santos, Mike spent his life as a native “Islander”. He attended Sullivan School, Thompson Jr. High, and Middletown High, graduating in 1968. It was during those years that he discovered his love and talent for making pottery, wood-working, and working on cars. Mike’s engineering mind, gift for understanding the mechanics of how things work, and his solution-oriented drive made him a master problem-solver. If something was broken or inefficient, he was determined to either fix or optimize it. His attention to detail coupled with his fierce work ethic made him a natural leader throughout his professional life. Mike worked as the Pressroom Foreman at The Newport Daily News from 1969 – 1985. He also owned and operated the One-Mile Corner Gulf station from 1979 – 1983. After leaving the Daily News, Mike spent a few years doing press installation for Dev Industries – an opportunity through which he was able to travel all over the country. When he tired of traveling, he worked locally at ProPrinting and Minuteman Press before deciding to open his own print shop, Precision Offset Printing Service (POPS), which he ran with his wife Debra from 1990 – 2003. In his later years, he worked as a supervisor at DeWal Corporation, as well as running a real estate sign business serving Gustave White Sotheby’s.
Mike was always generous with his time and talents, and would be the first to show up when anyone needed help – family, friends and strangers alike. He served as a volunteer firefighter in Portsmouth in the 1970’s; he thought nothing of going out of his way to do what he considered “the right thing”. He loved to meet people and share stories, and he lived his life with great integrity and authenticity. While his sense of humor saw him through his toughest times, he also was never afraid to show his vulnerability.
When he wasn’t working, Mike enjoyed spending time with family and friends at “Camp”. He was a regular for years at Salt Rock Campground, and then more recently at Greenwood Hills Campground. He served as a Cub Scout Leader for Pack 11, when his boys were young. An avid motorcycle enthusiast, he regularly attended annual rallies in Laconia, NH, as well as Sturgis, ND and Daytona, FL.
Mike spent his final days looking forward to his Heavenly Reunion with his beloved mother and sister, Bernadette Marie “Bunny”. He was predeceased by: his grandparents, Joseph and Maria (Braga) Santos, and Joseph F. Moniz, Maria (Pacheco) Moniz Garcia, and step-grandfather John Garcia; his paternal aunts and uncles – Manuel, Alice, Joseph, Gladys, Mary and Lena; and maternal aunts and uncles – Emily, Mary-Teresa, Grace, Joe, Jesse, Gloria, Ethel and Olive.
In addition to his devoted wife of 33 years, Debra, Mike is survived by: his father, Antone R. Santos; his brothers Richard A. Santos (Sue) and Robert F. Santos (Mary); his daughters Denise L. Santos-Colonel (Chris) and Kimberly M. Santos (Michael Hicks); his sons Leo P. Bonnenfant and Jared A. Bonnenfant (Becky); 12 grandchildren: Michaela Caldeira (Bill), Emily Jackson (Nicholas), Christopher Colonel (Sofia), and Jacob Colonel; Emrys and Isaac Hicks-Santos; Leo Paul III, Derek, Patrick, and Madison Bonnenfant; Lacy and Hailey Bonnenfant; and 1 great-granddaughter: Ava Anaya Jackson. He will also be fondly remembered and missed by his nieces Justine Santos and Maggie Langstaff Smith, his nephew Ricky Santos, his former sister-in-laws Colleen Langstaff-Hoyle and Selene Gemmell, his God-daughter Jennifer Moniz-Mays, as well as countless cousins, and dear friends. It also meant a lot to him to have remained on good terms with his former wife, Barbara Joustra, and her family.
The family would like to thank: Dr. Alessandro Papa and the amazing staff at Newport and Rhode Island Hospitals for their supportive care, friendship and laughter throughout these past few years; Dr. John McCaffrey and his wife Kathy for their ongoing care and support. Deep gratitude is also owed to Mike’s dear friends Tony Sylvia and Dana Wells, both of whom offered immeasurable help and support over this past year. And for the counsel, love and friendship of Chaplain Kate Perry… there are no words to express the blessing of your presence…
Calling hours will be held at the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway in Newport, on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 from 4:00-8:00 PM. Services to honor Mike will continue the following day, Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at 11:00 AM in the Memorial Funeral Home. Burial will follow at Newport Memorial Park in Middletown. Reception to follow. All are welcome. At Mike’s request, please attend in comfortable/ casual attire, as this is the way that he liked to live!
In lieu of flowers, donations in Mike’s memory can be made to: The Dorian J. Murray Foundation (#D-strong) or the Potter League for Animals.