June 29 – Happy Birthday Bill Santos

santos222Emanuel Santos and Isabelle Ramos were immigrants from Spain who met and married in Saratoga Springs, NY and then came to Amsterdam’s South Side, where they moved into a house on Jewett Street. “Manny” eventually started a construction business with partners Sam Sgalio and Louis Spagnola called the American Construction Corporation. The couple also started a family, filling their home with six boys and a girl.

The June 29 Amsterdam Birthday celebrant was the youngest Santos child. William “Bill” Santos (standing on far left in above photo) was born on June 29, 1930. He wasn’t old enough to join his brothers who all served in WWII. Fortunately all five would return home safely. In 1946, their father sold his share of the American Construction Corporation to his partners and joined three of his boys, Ben, Peter, and Frank and his daughter Matilda in the new Santos Construction Company. Another brother, Emanuel (nicknamed Moose) remained in the service as a crackerjack mechanic until the late 1950’s and then would also come into the firm. This new business would become one of this area’s greatest family-run success stories.

The Santos brothers would not be the only Amsterdam siblings to join together to start post WWII construction companies specializing in grading and excavation. There was also the Vertucci’s, the Persico’s and the Sollecito’s.

Billy Santos got his opportunity to serve his country after he graduated from Amsterdam High School in 1948…

(Bill Santos shares his June 29 birthday with this former executive of an Amsterdam carpet-maker)

My complete birthday post for Bill Santos will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. The June 2016 edition of the Amsterdam NY Birthday Blog Newsletter will be distributed tomorrow (June 30, 2016) to all current subscribers. If you’re not on the list to receive it you can sign up here.

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