Maria de Los Angeles Santiago Rodriguez Langston (N. Ft. Myers, FL), age 75, went home to be with the Lord at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, 2018.
Maria was born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico on July 14, 1942. She moved with her family to New York City when she was 12 years old. While growing up there, she fell in love with Latin jazz and salsa music and dance and thoroughly enjoyed attending the concerts (the Apollo Theater) of Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, and other Latin musical artists. She later moved to Florida in 1975, where she met her future husband, Scott Langston, in April of 1976. They married in Jacksonville, FL in May of 1980 and grew to become one over the next 38 years.
While in Jacksonville, Maria worked for the Florida Times-Union for 7 years before joining United Airlines as a Customer Service Representative. After years of watching the flight crews board planes at her gate, on their way to exotic adventures, she decided to join the party and became a flight attendant. As the language person on all of her flights, she was based in Washington, D.C. (Dulles), where she worked flights to many European destinations, then transferred to Miami, FL to work all of the flights to Central and South America.
After retiring from United in the late 90’s, she then became involved with her next love, as the owner/operator of 3 different ladies’ boutique shops, in Old San Juan (“Gardenias”), North Fort Myers (“Dock Styles”), and Ft. Myers (“Cuchi’s”).
Maria and Scott loved to travel together. During the course of her flying career, they visited Bavarian Germany, Austria, Spain, Hawaii, Australia, Venezuela, Argentina, Bermuda, Cancun, Mexico, the Virgin Islands (U.S.), Aruba, and Puerto Rico.
In 2001, they moved to N. Ft. Myers and began traveling in their motor home. They crossed the U. S. twice and saw many points of interest, including Yellowstone National Park, the Little Bighorn Battlefield, Devil’s Tower, Mt. Rushmore, the Columbia River Gorge, the California Redwood forests, and the southwest U. S. deserts.
Maria and Scott loved spending time together, whether they were traveling or at home. And, they thanked God for every minute of time that He gave to them for sharing one another’s lives and love.
As a native-born Puertorriquena, Maria loved to visit the island of her birth. The beauty of her island, and the fascination of its culture, captured her heart. During the last 3 years of her life, she enjoyed 5 separate trips to Isla Verde, to spend a month each time on the fabulous Atlantic beach, with interesting side trips to Old San Juan, El Yunque rainforest, Culebra, etc. She had a passion for La Isla and loved every second of those wonderful visits to her homeland.
Maria is survived by her devoted husband, Scott, her brother Ray Santiago & soul-sister Lucy Davila, her 3 children (Reinaldo Pavon, Michael Castagnaro, and Michelle Castagnaro) her 6 grandchildren (Angie Arrington & Amber Pavon (Ray’s), Angelo & Anna Castagnaro (Michael’s), and Joey Alfano & Krystal Curattalo (Michelle’s), and her 4 great grandchildren (Alexander, Alysha, & Amelia Maria Arrington (Angie’s) and Leonardo Curattalo (Krystal’s)).
She is also survived by Uncle Rueben and Aunt Crucita Santiago, Aunt Felicia “Itcha” Cepeba, and cousins Cathy Cruz, Paula Soto, and Gladys & Sonia Eraso.
She was predeceased by her father and mother, Raul Santiago-Reyes and Rosa Rodriguez Santiago, her brother, Raul “Cucho” Santiago, Jr., her uncles Pepe and Sasso Santiago, and her grandmother, Abuela Paula Reyes.
Our blessed Maria was one of a kind. During the course of her life, she had a youthful enthusiasm, a childlike quality of excitement and adventure, that drew you to her and made her so easy to love. We will miss you terribly, sweetheart. May God hold you ever so close.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16 (preceded by a family visitation at 10:30 a.m.), in the Chapel at Harvey-Engelhardt Funeral Home, 1600 Colonial Blvd., Ft. Myers, FL 33907. Burial will take place in the Florida National Cemetery (Bushnell, FL) on Thursday, May 17, with a short pavilion service at 11:30 a.m. The funeral coach will leave Harvey-Engelhardt Funeral Home at approximately 8 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to Hope Hospice, 9470 HealthPark Circle, Ft. Myers, FL 33908.