Santa “Sandy Matrone” passed away peacefully in his home in Bristol on December 9, 2020 with his loving family at his side. He was married to his high school sweetheart and loving wife Jeanette (Foti) for 61 years, who cared for him during the last days of his illness.
A lifelong resident of Bristol, he was the son of the late Santa Matrone Sr. and Anna (Purcella) Matrone. Those close to knew him as “Satch”, a nickname given to him in reference to the great baseball player Satchel Paige.
Sandy was a 1955 graduate of Colt Memorial High School where he was an outstanding student, leader, and athlete. Sandy was senior class president, president of student council, as well as an accomplished athlete playing basketball and earning All-State recognition as a baseball player. Upon his graduation from Colt Memorial, he received the prestigious Bristol Athletic Council Trophy and Brightman award. Sandy continued his education at Providence College, where he was a walk on varsity starter on the baseball team, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1959 and a master’s degree in History in 1969. Sandy was inducted into the Bristol High School Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of his athletic accomplishments.
As a lifelong educator, Sandy began his teaching at Providence School system before coming to the Bristol School system, where he taught for over 27 years as a classroom history teacher, social studies department head, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal and eventually Interim Principal. Sandy always believed that athletics and physical education for everyone was an extension of the classroom, and his teaching extended to the baseball fields where he served as head coach of the varsity team and on the basketball courts as an assistant coach. He was an avid supporter of physical education programs for disadvantaged and disabled children, including sending baseball equipment to a remote village in Nicaragua.
Sandy was highly regarded for his approach to caring for all the needs of his students and was an innovator in programs well before they became more broadly common. He established the first Juvenile Hearing Board, student discipline handbook, and post prom programs where students could have fun and be safe. One of the greatest honors Sandy received was to serve as Chief Marshal in the 221st Bristol 4th of July parade. Sandy, a true Bristolian, never missed a parade. He was also honored with the “Spirit of Christmas Award” and the “Italian Heritage Award” from La Bella Sicilia Society together with his wife Jeanette.
He will be remembered for his contagious smile that lit up a room, as a loyal friend, a proud Bristolian, and his devotion to his wife, children, and grandchildren.
Besides his wife, Sandy is survived by his 5 children all living in Bristol, Sandra Matrone Mack (Edward) Mary Ellen Januario (Anthony), Mark Matrone (Jane), Robert Matrone (Teresa) and Richard Matrone (Christine) as well as 12 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Sandy will be deeply missed by many.
In addition to his parents, Sandy was is predeceased by his brother Anthony Matrone formerly of Riverside, RI.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM on Saturday December 12, 2020 inside Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 141 State Street, Bristol. Mass will be livestreamed on “Henry Zinno” Facebook page for anyone unable to attend in person. Due to Covid restrictions burial will be private. Visiting Hours are respectfully omitted. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name can be made to the Bristol Recreation Center, 101 Asylum Road. Bristol, RI 02809.
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