J.P. DeSantis, expert on education

August 30, 1993

Joseph P. DeSantis, an educator and college administrator, died of a heart attack July 29 within a block of his office at the Maryland State Department of Education, 200 W. Baltimore St. He was 61.

Mr. DeSantis had been a specialist in post-secondary and adult education since 1976 in the Division of Career, Technology and Adult Learning. He was a liaison between state and community college faculty and administrators.

In 1970, he was appointed dean of community services at the new Howard Community College. As part of the college's initial team of administrators, he led the development of community-based education programs, including adult basic education and high school diploma programs.

He also recruited more than 1,200 adjunct faculty members and administered several state education grant programs at the college.

Born in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Mr. DeSantis received a bachelor's degree in business administration from Niagara University in 1953. He earned a master's degree in business education from Columbia University in 1958.

In 1961, Mr. DeSantis and Ellen Desimone were married.

After teaching business for five years at Niagara-Wheatfield High School, Mr. DeSantis briefly worked for Suffolk County College on Long Island. He left in 1963 to become an instructor and administrator at Niagara County Community College, where he stayed until 1968.

He was the first dean of arts and sciences at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, from 1968 to 1970.

After graduating from the University of Baltimore law school in 1978, he was admitted to the Maryland State Bar Association.

He was a lieutenant in the Army from 1953 to 1955 and served in the Air Force from 1961 to 1962. After his retirement from the Air Force reserve in 1981 as a lieutenant colonel, Mr. DeSantis became a member of the Maryland Defense Force.

Until his death, Mr. DeSantis was an ombudsman for the Maryland Committee for Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve, visiting companies throughout Maryland. He stressed to employers the importance of the nation's military reserve force and sometimes acted as a mediator in disputes between workers and employers.

About five years ago, Mr. DeSantis took up acting, performing impromptu skits about the problems adults face when they go back to school. He was among a small group of teachers who founded the Improvisational Theater of the Maryland Association Adult Continuing and Community Educators.

A member of St. Francis of Assisi Mission parish in southern Howard County, Mr. DeSantis also was active in the Clarksville Lions Club.

A Mass of Christian burial was held Aug. 2 at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in Clarksville. Mr. DeSantis was buried with military honors at Crestlawn Cemetery.

In addition to his wife, his survivors include his mother, Mary DeSantis of Niagara Falls; a son, Thomas DeSantis of Hemet, Calif.; three daughters, Marybeth Eber and Kathleen DeSantis, both of Columbia, and Laurene McQuay of Timonium; two

sisters, Rose Greco and Sarah Patti, both of Niagara Falls; and three grandchildren.

The family suggests that donations might be made to a scholarship fund to be established in Mr. DeSantis' name.

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