Anne Santacroce, a career nurse who served on the front lines in Europe as a member of the Army Nurse Corps during World War II, died at home on Jefferson Street in Sag Harbor last Thursday. She was 92.
She was born in Brooklyn on Aug. 7, 1920, a daughter of James Tedesco and the former Antonina Rizzo. She attended P.S. 91, Erasmus Hall High School, Prospect Heights School of Nursing, and the New York Postgraduate Hospital.
After graduating, she stayed at Prospect Heights Hospital, where she worked in the operating room. In 1943 she joined the Army Nurse Corps and was commissioned a second lieutenant. After basic training, she traveled to Scotland on the Queen Mary, admitting later, “I was seasick the whole way.”
She served in England, France, and Belgium and was on the front lines attending to the wounded during the D-Day invasion and later at the Battle of the Bulge. She was promoted to first lieutenant and received a number of medals, including the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars, the World War II Victory Medal, and a World War II Honorable Service lapel button.
After the war, Mrs. Santacroce returned to Brooklyn and continued working at Prospect Heights Hospital before moving to Southampton and the hospital there.
She had married Frank Santacroce in 1950 and moved to a house they built in Sag Harbor. They raised four children who survive, Peter Santacroce of Hampton Bays, Michael Santacroce of Sag Harbor, Susan Mandaville of Newfane, Vt., and Catherine Worwetz of Bridgehampton.
In 2004, Mrs. Santacroce was awarded the Jubilee of Liberty Medal by the French government, the first woman to ever receive that honor.
In addition to her children, Mrs. Santacroce leaves nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Her sister Loretta Bianco also survives. Two sisters and five brothers died before her.
Mrs. Santacroce was an active member of the American Legion Chelberg-Battle Post in Sag Harbor, as well as the Columbiettes, St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, and the Sag Harbor Ladies Village Improvement Society. She will be remembered for her love of needlework, especially knitting. Many babies of family and friends were kept warm wearing the sweaters she made. She also fashioned Christmas ornaments as gifts.
She was said to be proud of her Italian heritage and her Brooklyn roots, especially her beloved Brooklyn Dodgers. Her family said that few will ever eat a pizzelle without thinking of her.
A funeral service was held at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Sag Harbor on Monday morning. Father Peter Devaraj officiated. Burial followed in the church cemetery. Memorial contributions were suggested for East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach 11978 or St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, 122 Division Street, Sag Harbor 11963.