Fidel M. Santiago, 95, of Lancaster, Pa., died Feb. 12, 2022. He was born Dec. 8, 1926, in La Plata, Puerto Rico.
In his adolescent years he befriended volunteers who came to Puerto Rico during World War II under the Civilian Public Service program. From their influence, he became a conscientious objector during the Korean War and served as receptionist at the Mennonite General Hospital in La Plata. In the summer of 1954, he met Patricia Brenneman. On June 8, 1956, Patricia’s father, a Mennonite pastor, married them at Bayshore Mennonite Church.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in education, and shortly after was called to a career in social work with the government of Puerto Rico that included earning a master’s degree.
He served 30 years with the Puerto Rico government. At the same time, he volunteered for short periods as pastor of Mennonite churches in Cayey and Guavate, served as radio announcer for Audición Luz y Verdad and became a member of the board of Academia Menonita Betania. During this time, they raised their two children.
Upon retirement from government service in 1981, he and Patricia moved to Los Angeles. In their first year there he was treated for dermatomyositis, and after a full recovery he embarked on a second career selling memorial property at Forrest Lawn Memorial Park. He was awarded Salesperson of the Year honors for three of his 18 years of service.
In 2001 after he retired, he and Patricia moved to Harrisonburg, Va., where they cultivated many friendships at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community, Park View Mennonite Church and the community. In 2018 they moved to Woodcrest Villa in Lancaster to be close to their son.
Survivors include his spouse, Patricia; his son Rolando (Raquel); a sister, Daisy Santiago (Paul) Reagan; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his son, Ricardo David; and six siblings, Angel Santiago, Elena Santiago, Ana Matilde Reagan, María Isabel Santiago, Elisa Santiago and Aida Luz Santiago.